To read this content please select one of the options below:

Country-of-origin and emerging countries: revisiting a complex relationship

Mourad Touzani (Department of Marketing, NEOMA Business School, Rouen, France)
Smaoui Fatma (Department of Marketing, Institut Supérieur de Gestion, University of Tunis, Tunis, Tunisia)
Labidi Mouna Meriem (Department of Marketing, Institut Supérieur de Gestion, University of Tunis, Tunis, Tunisia)

Qualitative Market Research

ISSN: 1352-2752

Article publication date: 12 January 2015




The purpose of the current study is to attempt to contribute to the understanding of some socio-cultural factors likely to explain the preference for international products in emerging countries, and more specifically those characterising former colonised countries in the Middle East and North Africa.


The chosen approach is exploratory and of a qualitative inductive nature. It was based on a series of semi-structured and unstructured in-depth interviews with Tunisian consumers about their relationship to local and foreign products.


A set of complex and inter-related explanatory factors of the country-of-origin phenomenon emerged through the analysis, notably the complex of the decolonised, acculturation in situ, frustration towards the West and sensitivity to the Western fashion system.

Research limitations/implications

The main limitation of this research is that the interviews were carried out among people living in the three main cities of Tunisia, which are urban settings.

Practical implications

This research proposes a general framework and a set of new constructs that may be used by leaders of businesses, communications agencies or distribution companies. These elements may help them for segmentation, assortment and range decisions, and brand names.

Social implications

Given the failure of “buy local” campaigns, this research shows the importance to revive Tunisian consumers’ feeling of identification with their local culture and to reconcile them with their own identity. Suggestions are given to reach these objectives.


This research proposes a framework explaining how the country-of-origin effect in emerging countries operates in a different manner from what has been suggested in the studies conducted in Western contexts.



Touzani, M., Fatma, S. and Mouna Meriem, L. (2015), "Country-of-origin and emerging countries: revisiting a complex relationship", Qualitative Market Research, Vol. 18 No. 1, pp. 48-68.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Related articles