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Cosmopolitanism as a consumer orientation: Replicating and extending prior research

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Purpose ? The paper aims to increase our understanding of an under-investigated research area of consumption, that is, cosmopolitanism as a consumer orientation. Design/methodology/approach ? About 16 informants, either Australians who had worked or studied overseas, or expatriates residing in Australia, participated in a qualitative research study. Analysis was an iterative process involving textual interpretation of interview transcripts and photographs supplied by informants. Findings ? Support is found for Thompson and Tambyah's idea that a cosmopolitan consumer orientation comprises dominant masculine and counter-veiling feminine traits. Contradicting Thompson and Tambyah, the study validates Cannon and Yaprak's idea that a cosmopolitan consumer orientation simultaneously embraces maintaining close ties to their cultural roots and seeking to consume products from other cultures. Additional aspects of cosmopolitanism are identified, including the benefits of expatriate enclaves and difficulties upon returning home. Research limitations/implications ? Theory validation arises as a consequence of finding partial support for past findings. Theory generation manifests as suggested modifications to extant theory and identification of additional aspects of cosmopolitanism as a consumer orientation. Practical implications ? Understanding cosmopolitanism as a consumer orientation has implications for understanding consumption of culturally distant products. Originality/value ? The paper offers foundations for future research into an increasingly significant aspect of consumption.
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Keywords: Australia; Consumer research; Consumption; Culture; Expatriates; Overseas students

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2006

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