Date of Award

12-9-2005

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)

Degree Program

Global Leadership - with a specialization in Corporate and Organizational Management

Department

College of Business and Management

First Advisor

Lisa Dandeo

Second Advisor

Jeanette Francis

Third Advisor

Maureen Goldstein

Abstract

The research on the effect of "country-of-origin" (COO) or "Made in.. ." label has attracted extensive attention from academic researchers and marketers for the past three decades. Moreover, the country-of-origin effect will be more progressively salient in the era of the global marketplace due to multinational companies who are seeking production in lower cost countries. Thus, considering the country-of-origin effect on consumers' perceptions of products becomes more important. This study is the first to examine the country-of-origin effect, and how it may possibly influence Taiwanese consumers' perception and purchase intentions when evaluating a luxury handbag.

The specific purpose of this research study was (a) to examine the effect of the COO on consumers' perception of product quality, prestige, workmanship as well as their purchase intentions; (b) to explore the relative importance of the COO and the brand name when consumers evaluate a luxury handbag; (c) to explore the influences of incongruent information between the COO and brand origin on consumers' product evaluation; (d) to explore consumers' purchase intention and the price they are willing to pay for luxury handbags made in different countries; and (e) to generate practical implication for luxury handbag manufacturers that consider moving their production into less reputable countries.

The findings of this research study indicated that Taiwanese consumers are sensitive to the country-of-origin information when evaluating a luxury handbag.

Taiwanese consumers tend to believe that luxury handbags made in well-developed countries will have better quality, prestige, and workmanship than handbags made in less-developed countries. Additionally, Taiwanese consumers have higher expectations from a higher equity brand; thus, the incongruent information between the COO and the brand origin will produce larger negative effects on product evaluation. With regard to the price expectation, Taiwanese consumers are willing to pay a higher price for the reputable COO and expect greater price discounts for the less reputable COO. Recommendations for luxury handbag manufacturers and future study are also discussed.

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