Most previous studies of the consumption behavior of immigrants have examined their perceptions and behavior only in the context of the host country, while overlooking their perceptions and behavior in their home countries. The present study has addressed this gap in the literature by investigating the perceptions and behavior of West African immigrants to Canada in both contexts. The objectives of this study are: (i) to gain a better understanding of the modes of acculturation of West African immigrants in Canada; (ii) to relate these modes of acculturation to consumers’ perceived likelihood of successful complaint and complaining behavior; and (iii) to compare consumers’ complaint attitudes and behavior in their home countries (i.e., original countries) and the host country (Canada). An empirical study is conducted among a sample of 218 immigrants living in Canada and originating from several West African countries. The results show that the vast majority of respondents fall into one of two acculturation groups: (i) an ‘integrated’ group; and (ii) a ‘separated’ group. The findings also show that, irrespective of whether they were ‘integrated’ or ‘separated’, West African immigrants perceived that a complaint was more likely to be successful in Canada than in their home countries. Moreover, irrespective of whether they were ‘integrated’ or ‘separated’, West African immigrants to Canada tended to complain more (to a third party or via ‘voicing’) in Canada than in their home countries. Given that the host country presents a more favorable environment for complaint behavior (in terms of consumer protection, after-sales service, return policies, and so on) than their home countries, it would seem that West African immigrants were inclined to change their behavior if they believe that their complaints will be taken seriously. In contrast to these findings regarding ‘third party’ or ‘voicing’ complaints, no significant differences were found between behavior in the host country and behavior in the home countries with respect to ‘negative word of mouth’ and ‘exit’. The likely explanation for this is that these are the easiest and least costly ways of expressing dissatisfaction (whether people are in their home countries or in the host country).
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- Influence of Modes of Acculturation on the Consumer Behavior of West African Immigrants in Canada