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Paper info: ‘Country of Origin’ and ‘Psychic Distance’ : separate constructs or two sides of the one coin?


‘Country of Origin’ and ‘Psychic Distance’ : separate constructs or two sides of the one coin?


Richard Fletcher

Place of Publication

The paper was published at the 21st IMP-conference in Rotterdam, Netherlands in 2005.


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One of the major contributions of the IMP approach to international marketing has been theconcept of interaction. Often concepts that in international marketing are treated as discrete,are in fact interrelated if the notion of interaction is taken into account. This will be illustratedin the case of ‘country of origin’ and ‘psychic distance’, and it will be argued that these areare in fact two sides of the one coin when the notion of interaction between importer andexporter is taken into account.‘Country of origin’ refers to ways in which a buyer perceives doing business with an overseasmarket in terms of its attractiveness as a source of supply whereas ‘psychic distance’ refersto ways in which a seller perceives the overseas market in terms of its attractiveness as aplace with which to do business. Both are perceptual constructs.The interactions between country of origin and psychic distance are discussed in thisconceptual paper in terms of both the network paradigm and the application of marketing inthe international domain. They are also discussed in relation to network maps of transactionsbetween exporters and importers. These discussions indicate the possible existence ofdualities between ‘psychic distance’ and ‘country of origin’ and that the network in which thenegotiation and consequent transaction are embedded, may need to take this duality intoaccount if the potential of the international business outcome is to be achieved.