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EMAC 2020 Annual Conference

Perceptual Standardization Gap: Antecedents and Consequences in an Emerging Country Context

Published: May 27, 2020


Müge Güzel, Koç University; Ayşegül Özsomer, Koç University; Burcu Sezen, Universidad de los Andes


perception; inaccuracy; standardization


This paper investigates perceptual differences between consumers and MNCs’ subsidiary managers in terms of the standardization level of a global brand in the local subsidiary. Calling these differences ‘the standardization gap’, antecedents and consequences of this gap are analyzed in an emerging country context. Dyadic data is obtained from local subsidiary managers and consumers. Results reveal that significant perceptual gaps with regard to the product and positioning standardization levels of the brands exist. Geographical and psychic distance to the reference country and advertising standardization impact the perceptions of consumers about how standardized a brand is. Credibility and quality of the brand determine the extent of perceptual gaps, and a negative relationship between the standardization gap and brand equity is shown. The results have critical implications for the management of global brands in emerging countries as well as the perceptual inaccuracy literature.