Ethnocentrism – Defined

Ethnocentrism is an idea or belief that one’s way of life, culture, group, race, and language are superior to others. It generally entails bias in one’s ability to objectively judge options and make comparisons.

A Little More on Ethnocentrism

An ethnocentric person judges everything based on his predefined values and compares other’s way of life, language, culture and group with their own.

Ethnocentrism often leads to self pride and prejudice toward outsiders. It has been known to lead to contempt for others.

While ethnocentrism is a sociological concept, its applications are not limited to sociology. It can be applied to business as well. Ethnocentrism can harm a company when it results in a failure to understand the views of your customers or clients. Once you understand and recognize its importance, you can develop and use many strategies to benefit from it. Ethnocentrism is applicable to both domestic as well as international business.

Negative Examples of Ethnocentrism

Ethnocentrism has many functions. As discussed, an ethnocentric person measures other cultures, languages, group against his own and he values his own culture and way of life. In business, it has many implications.

Ethnocentrism may be applied to products and services from other countries. For instance, if a consumer group is highly ethnocentric, they would prefer to buy domestic products to international or multinational product. Or they may prefer to buy products from the country which have the same or similar ethnocentric attributes.

It can cause problems for a company when going abroad. Just as it allows domestic companies to protect their markets, it can prevent a company from entering a foreign market. For example, an American company will have difficulties entering a foreign country if the country is highly ethnocentric itself.

References for Ethnocentrism

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