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
Academic Research on Ethnocentrism
- ● An interview-based assessment of the influence of ethnocentrism in business, Pocovnicu, A., & Vasilache, S. (2012). Revista De Management Comparat International, 13(3), 478. This paper deals with the investigation of ethnocentrism in business and how this attitude impact different areas of the organizations life. It also shows the importance of cultural differences and similarities awareness and the role of management in taking advantage of a multicultural environment.
- ● Cross-cultural competence in international business: Toward a definition and a model, Johnson, J. P., Lenartowicz, T., & Apud, S. (2006). Journal of international business studies, 37(4), 525-543. This paper explores the lack of a proper definition of cross-cultural competence (CC) in international business literature. This paper propose a definition of CC as it applies to international business and develop a model for understanding how CC is nurtured in individuals, linking our definition to the concept of cultural intelligence. It also goes on to show the implications of the model for practitioners, and by suggesting appropriate directions for further research.
- ● An application of the consumer ethnocentrism model to French consumers, Javalgi, R. G., Khare, V. P., Gross, A. C., & Scherer, R. F. (2005). International Business Review, 14(3), 325-344. The purpose of this study was to investigate what leads French consumers to ethnocentrism and the effects of their ethnocentrism on attitudes toward imports, and subsequently on purchase intentions. The conceptual framework used is based on the work of Sharma, S., Shrimp, T. A., Shin, J. (1995). Consumer ethnocentrism: A test of antecedents and moderators. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 23(Issue 1), 26–37.
- ● Consumer perceptions of foreign products: An analysis of product-country images and ethnocentrism, Kaynak, E., & Kara, A. (2002). European Journal of marketing, 36(7/8), 928-949.
- ● Consumer ethnocentrism in international services marketing, De Ruyter, K., Van Birgelen, M., & Wetzels, M. (1998). International Business Review, 7(2), 185-202.
- ● Consumer ethnocentrism: Construction and validation of the CETSCALE, Shimp, T. A., & Sharma, S. (1987). Journal of marketing research, 280-289. The concept of consumer ethnocentrism is introduced and a corresponding measure, the CETSCALE, is formulated and validated. Four separate studies provide support for the CETSCALE’s reliability and convergent and discriminant validity. A series of nomological validity tests show consumer ethnocentrism to be moderately predictive of theoretically related constructs.
- ● Market segmentation by using consumer lifestyle dimensions and ethnocentrism: An empirical study, Kucukemiroglu, O. (1999). European Journal of Marketing, 33(5/6), 470-487. This paper identifies consumer market segments existing among Turkish consumers by using lifestyle patterns and ethnocentrism. Data for the study were collected through personal interviews in Istanbul. Survey findings indicate that there are several lifestyle dimensions apparent among the Turkish consumers which had an influence on their ethnocentric tendencies. Non‐ethnocentric Turkish consumers tend to have significantly more favorable beliefs, attitudes, and intentions regarding imported products than do ethnocentric Turkish consumers. These findings are important for marketers who are in, or planning to enter the Turkish market.
- ● Reducing ethnocentrism in international business students with an online multicultural supplement, Fluck, U., Clouse, S. F., & Shooshtari, N. H. (2007). Journal of Teaching in International Business, 18(2-3), 133-151. This study addresses the question of whether multicultural online supplements can reduce ethnocentricity in students. The results based on data collected through an established “global-mindedness” questionnaire in both a traditional International Business course and one with an online addition, suggest that online supplements are a valuable tool to reduce levels of ethnocentricity and increase international competence.
- ● Consumer ethnocentrism: A test of antecedents and moderators, Sharma, S., Shimp, T. A., & Shin, J. (1994). Journal of the academy of marketing science, 23(1), 26-37. This article identifies theoretical antecedents of consumer ethnocentricity and the effect ethnocentricity has on evaluations toward importing products. Hypotheses pertaining to the relationship between the identified antecedents and consumer ethnocentricity are developed based on an extensive review of the ethnocentrism and country-of-origin literatures. Also identified are factors moderating the effect of ethnocentric tendencies on consumers’ attitudes toward importing products. The hypotheses are subjected to an empirical test using data collected in Korea.
- ● Country of origin and ethnocentrism: an analysis of Canadian and American preferences using social identity theory, Lantz, G., & Loeb, S. (1996). ACR North American Advances. This study utilizes conjoint analysis in an exploratory analysis to ascertain the value consumers in Canada and the United States place on a product being from their own, or another, country. It is proposed that there is a conceptual difference between the part of the country of origin effect which can be explained by country image and the part explainable by nationalistic tendencies. This paper uses social identity theory to further explicate the role of the nationalistic tendencies in an exploratory empirical study.
- ● Ethnocentrism. A key determinant in international corporate strategy formulation?, Sinkovics, R., & Holzmüller, H. (1994). Ethnocentrism. This paper targets the conceptual identification of different areas of corporate strategy formulation which are assumed to be influenced by varying levels of ethnocentrism.