The Impact of Perceived Severity of an Outcome Upon Purchase Intention from the Perspective of Attribution

The Impact of Perceived Severity of an Outcome Upon Purchase Intention from the Perspective of Attribution

Yaxiong Wu (SouthWest Jiaotong University and Shijiazhuang University, China) and Bing Zhao (Hebei University of Technology and Shijiazhuang University, China)
DOI: 10.4018/japuc.2012010103


In this paper, the authors study the impact of perceived severity of an outcome in different types of product harm crisis from the angel of consumer attribution-blame. By experimenting the authors found that when the responsibility of product harm crisis is not clear, the higher degree of perceived injury, the more responsibility customer attribute to enterprise; and when the responsibility is clear, the customers won’t have the attribution bias; perceived severity of an outcome to customer blame was regulated by responsibility attribution and intention attribution.
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1. Introduction

Product harm crisis is a sort of product crisis. In recent years, as regulations become more stringent, products become more complex, customers become more demanding and the media becomes more sensitive, product harm crisis has been showing multiple features. Siomkos and Kurzbard (1994) proposed that product harm crisis is occasional occurrence and widely publicized on a product that is defective or dangerous to consumers. The root causes of product harm crisis are the product, which is flawed or may be defective and put consumers at risk, subsequently the information is disseminated.

The current study on product harm crisis can be divided into three parts: First, the study on coping strategies and responses of the enterprise after crisis; second, the study on consumer attribution, including the antecedent variables affecting attribution and the outcome variables affected by attribution after crisis; third, product harm crisis directly affects the outcome variables (e.g., brand equity, purchase intention, brand attitude and so on). Product harm crisis is different from the general product crisis. In general product crisis, a defective product may be inconvenient for consumers, or can not meet consumer expectations for the product. However, the product harm crisis can result in harm to the health of consumers, even death. Therefore, perceived severity of an outcome is a very important variable to perceived risk, brand attitude after crisis, and purchase intention in future. But these researches have rarely been reported in the available literatures. Based on Mexican culture, in the product harm crisis with ambiguous responsibility, Laufer, David, and Mayer (2005) had found that perceived severity of an outcome has a positive impact on consumer attribution. According to Laufer's findings, we further explore that how the perceived severity of an outcome affects consumer attribution in the clear responsibility of product harm crisis; will it lead to attribution bias? In the two types of product harm crisis, how perceived severity of an outcome affects consumer willingness to buy? For explaining the above problems, we build the mechanism model of consumers purchase intention in the two types of crisis from the perspective of consumer attribution-blame.

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