The purpose of this paper is to investigate “how” and “when” the stereotypes of competence and warmth, that are evoked by a foreign company’s country-of-origin (COO), affect blame attributions and/or attitudes toward a company’s products when a company is involved in a product-harm crisis.
Study 1 (n=883) analyzes the psychological mechanisms through which perceived COO competence and warmth differently affect blame attributions and evaluative responses. Study 2 (n=1,640) replicates Study 1’s findings, and it also investigates how consumer ethnocentrism, animosity toward a country, and product category characteristics moderate the hypothesized COO’s effects.
COO competence leads to more favorable attitudes toward the involved company’s products. This effect increases when the company sells high-involvement or utilitarian products. COO warmth leads to more favorable attitudes toward the involved company’s products directly as well as indirectly by diminishing blame attributions. These effects increase when consumers are highly ethnocentric, or the animosity toward a foreign country is high.
This paper frames the investigation of COO stereotypes in a new theoretical and empirical setting, specifically, a product-harm crisis. It demonstrates that consumers differently evaluate a potential wrongdoing company and its harmful products in a product-harm crisis based on their perceptions of a company’s COO competence and warmth. Finally, it defines the moderating effects of individual, consumer-country-related and product characteristics on the hypothesized COO effects.
The authors are extremely grateful for the constructive comments of the three anonymous reviewers, the sage guidance of the associate editor, and the support of the editor. Mark Cleveland served as associate editor for this article.
Barbarossa, C., De Pelsmacker, P. and Moons, I. (2018), "Effects of country-of-origin stereotypes on consumer responses to product-harm crises", International Marketing Review, Vol. 35 No. 3, pp. 362-389. https://doi.org/10.1108/IMR-06-2016-0122
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