Investigating country image influences after a product-harm crisis

Roberta Carolyn Crouch, Vinh Nhat Lu, Naser Pourazad, Chen Ke

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    10 Citations (Scopus)


    Purpose: Although international product-harm crises have become more common, the influence of the country image (CI) associated with foreign goods in such crises remains under researched. This study aims to investigate the extent to which the CI of a foreign made product influences consumers’ attribution of blame and trust and, ultimately, their future purchase intentions after the product is involved in a crisis. Design/methodology/approach: A 2 (country) × 3 (crisis type) quasi experimental design was used, with data collected from Australia (n = 375) and China (n = 401). Findings: CI can influence attribution of blame, subsequent levels of trust and likely purchase intentions. Australian and Chinese consumers have different views when it comes to trusting a company or placing blame, depending on the country of origin or the type of crisis. The direct and positive effect of CI on consumer purchase intentions following a product-harm crisis is sequentially mediated by attribution of blame and trust. Trust is the most powerful influence on future purchase intentions in both samples. Research limitations/implications: In this research, only one type of crisis response strategy (no comment) was used. Thus, the results of this study must be viewed with caution when considering outcomes relating to other response options. Additionally, the testing was limited to only two samples, focussing on three countries (England, China, Vietnam), and one product context using a hypothetical brand. Further, despite our reasonable sample size (N = 776), the number of respondents represented in each cell would still be considered a limitation overall. Practical implications: When developing crisis response strategies, managers should take into account the influence of a positive/negative source CI in driving attribution and trust. To minimize the impact of crisis on future purchasing decisions, organizations can leverage positive biases and mitigate negative ones, aiming to maintain or restore trust as a priority. Originality/value: The study provides cross-country understanding about the significant role of CI during a product-harm crisis in relation to subsequent consumers’ blame attribution, their trust in the focal organization and ultimately their future purchase intentions.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)894-924
    Number of pages31
    JournalEuropean Journal of Marketing
    Issue number3
    Early online date12 Oct 2020
    Publication statusPublished - 25 Feb 2021


    • Attribution
    • Blame
    • Country image
    • Product harm crisis
    • Trust


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