A Note on Modeling Consumer Reactions to a Crisis: The Case of the Mad Cow Disease

Posted: 14 Mar 2003

See all articles by Joost M. E. Pennings

Joost M. E. Pennings

Maastricht University; Wageningen UR

Brian Wansink

Cornell University

Matthew T.G. Meulenberg

Wageningen UR

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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 have become of increasing importance because of the globalization of markets and an increased coverage by the media. Marketers need 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. Such a framework helps to provide answers on how marketers can deal with such type of crises. The merits of this conceptualization are illustrated in two field studies that examine the reactions of German, Dutch, and American consumers to the BSE (madcow disease) crisis.

Keywords: Consumer reactions, Crisis, Risk Attitude, Risk Perception

JEL Classification: G0, C9, D1, I0, M0, Q0

Suggested Citation

Pennings, Joost M. E. and Wansink, Brian and Meulenberg, Matthew T.G., A Note on Modeling Consumer Reactions to a Crisis: The Case of the Mad Cow Disease. International Journal of Research in Marketing, Vol. 19, 2002. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=373981

Joost M. E. Pennings (Contact Author)

Maastricht University ( email )

P.O. Box 616
Maastricht, 6200MD

Wageningen UR ( email )

Hollandseweg 1
Wageningen, 6706KN

Brian Wansink

Cornell University ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

Matthew T.G. Meulenberg

Wageningen UR ( email )

Hollandseweg 1
6706 KN Department of Marketing and Marketing Research
31-317-482205 (Phone)
31-317-484361 (Fax)

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