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Modeling country image effects through an international crisis

Louise A. Heslop (Sprott School of Business, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada)
Irene R.R. Lu (School of Administrative Studies, York University, Toronto, Canada)
David Cray (Sprott School of Business, Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada)

International Marketing Review

ISSN: 0265-1335

Article publication date: 18 July 2008




The purpose of this paper is to propose and test a longitudinal country‐people image effect model involving a significant negative international incident between countries; study how such a model changes over time; and study the extent of image recovery in terms of how the offending country, people, and its products are perceived.


Australian consumers were surveyed before, during, and a decade after the French nuclear testing in the Pacific in 1995. Model testing was conducted using confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and structural equation modeling (SEM) techniques.


The model was strongly supported in all three‐time points. During the crisis, negative feelings toward France/French rose and consumers' response to French products dropped. Country‐people competency has risen over country‐people character in explaining product evaluations. In the final period, the Australian views on country‐people character and product response had more than recovered. The country‐people character beliefs now play a significant role in influencing product evaluations after the crisis than before, while the impacts of country‐people competency on product evaluation and response have diminished dramatically. Product evaluation is fairly stable over time.


Studies to date have focused on country image at a point in time in relatively stable environmental conditions. The proposed model is helpful in understanding the processes of country‐product image effects through the study of all attitude components and through differentiation of beliefs about country and people production‐related and non‐production related characteristics. The cross‐temporal validation of the model indicates its usefulness for general applicability in country image effects research.



Heslop, L.A., Lu, I.R.R. and Cray, D. (2008), "Modeling country image effects through an international crisis", International Marketing Review, Vol. 25 No. 4, pp. 354-378.



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