MIES Research Seminar: Understanding Counterarguments in Managing Consumer Boycotting Behaviour with Dr Ibrahim Abosag

This research seminar is hosted by the Marketing, International Enterprise and Strategy Division (MIES) at Sheffield University Management School.


Dr Ibrahim Abosag, SOAS, University of London


Religious animosity towards a country results in negative emotional attitudes towards it and has a negative impact on country image (Smith and Cooper-Martin, 1997; Abosag and Farah, 2014).   This effect is likely to be more pronounced in highly ethnocentric countries, such as Saudi Arabia. Ethnocentrism is an attitude of pride based on the values of one’s ethnic or national group (Nijssen and Douglas, 2004). It leads consumers to feel contempt towards the symbols of other ethnic or national groups, including products and brands (Shimp and Sharma, 1987) and making such boycotting more impactful (Klein and Ettensen, 1999). However, whether to participate or not during boycotting campaigns is fundamentally influenced by the counterarguments that will be present and active during boycotting campaigns (Klein et al. 2004). While most studies on consumer behaviour during boycotting have mainly focus on psychological and outcomes factors (Klein et al. 2004; Shebil et al., 2011), little has been done on understanding the impact of country-of-origin perceived image as well as brand image on shaping and enhancing counterarguments in managing consumer boycotting behaviour. Counterarguments concern the personal and social undesired consequences of a boycott. These are weighed by consumers against the boycott’s perceived chances of success. Counterarguments can thus be conceived of as a social dilemma which is beyond the control of any individual consumer but is meaningless without the consumer’s commitment (Sen, Gurhan-Canli and Morwitz, 2001). In order to understand how the perceived country-of-origin image and brand image contribute to the effectiveness of counterarguments, hence reducing the impact of boycotting, this study developed and tested the conceptual model using data on the boycotting of American and Danish brands in Saudi Arabia. The findings show some similarities and differences between the American and Danish samples, revealing some interesting insights related to counterarguments. Implications and recommendations are provided.


Ibrahim Abosag (PhD Nottingham University) is a Senior Lecturer in International Marketing at SOAS University of London. Prior to joining SOAS, he was a lecturer in International Marketing at the University of Manchester. His research interests include cross-cultural B2B, consumer boycotting behaviour, and brand relationships. Ibrahim has published in various academic journals including Industrial Marketing Management, Journal of Business Research, International Business Review, European Journal of Marketing, Journal of Marketing Management and others. He edited special issues in Industrial Marketing Management and in European Journal of Marketing and in Asian Business & Management.


  • 12.30 - 13.00 A light lunch will be served in the Courtyard Cafe (soft seating area)

  • 13.00 - 14.00 Seminar with Q&A in Meeting Room 3

Event Details

When: March 14, 2018 at 12:30pm—2:00pm

Where: Conduit Road, Sheffield, S10 1FL

Type: Alumni, Student, Business

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