Consumer Reactions to a Crisis
Pennings, Joost M. E., Brian Wansink, and Matthew T. G. Meulenberg. 2002. "A note on modeling consumer reactions to a crisis: The case of the mad cow disease," International Journal of Research in Marketing, 19(1): 91-100.
16 Pages Posted: 12 Jan 2016 Last revised: 27 Apr 2017
Date Written: January 1, 2002
What drives the behavior of consumers when faced with a product-related crisis, such as that involving food contamination or live-threatening design flaws? For both consumers and companies, these crises are become of increasing importance because of the globalization of markets and an increased coverage by the media. These crises show the need for marketers to understand why and how consumers react to a crisis. We show that by de-coupling risk response behavior of consumers into the separate components of risk perception and risk attitude, a more robust conceptualization and prediction of consumers’ reactions is possible. In addition, such a framework helps to provide answers on how marketers can deal with such type of crises. The merits of such conceptualization are illustrated in two field studies in the US, Germany and the Netherlands, in the context of the recent BSE (mad cow disease) crisis.
Keywords: risk response, consumer behavior, mad cow disease, creutzfeldt-jakob disease, bovine spongiform encephalopathy, crisis response, marketing, consumer reactions, risk attitude, risk perception
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