Descending from the ivory tower: Reflections on the relevance and future of country-of-origin research

Alexander Josiassen*, Anne-Wil Harzing

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


In a provocative article in this journal, Jean-Claude Usunier (2006) summarizes the critique on country of origin (COO) research and proclaims it to be ivory tower research that is of little relevance for consumers and businesses. Against this background, our paper comments on recent studies criticizing both past COO research and the relevance of the COO concept itself. We systematically counter the critique on COO research and provide reflections on the way forward for the field. Despite acknowledging Usunier's (2006) views that much research in this area might be guided by feasibility, rather than theoretical and practical relevance, and suffers from self-referential dynamics and overspecialization, we are critical of his conclusions with regard to the extant literature, its achievements and future research. We argue that COO is still a very relevant area of research, but one that does need to address several critical challenges. European Management Review (2008) 5, 264-270. doi:10.1057/emr.2008.19

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)264-270
JournalEuropean Management Review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • country-of-origin
  • country-of-origin facets
  • product involvement
  • product familiarity
  • brand origin recognition accuracy
  • product origin congruency


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