Journal of Marketing Science

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Research on the Impact of Self-Congruity on Consumer Attribution and Purchase Intention during Product Harm Crisis under Ambiguous Situation

Ren Jinzhong, Jing Fengjie   

  1. Ren Jinzhong, College of Management, Huazhong University of Science and Technology;
    Jing Fengjie,Business School, East China University of Science and Technology.
  • Online:2012-09-01 Published:2013-03-26


The purpose of this paper is to investigate consumer attribution and behavioral intention during product harm crises by examining the interdependencies that exist among their self-congruity as consumers, their attributions of blame, their perceived social distance and finally their purchase intentions towards the affected company. The paper utilizes experimental method and structural equation modeling is used to analyze data. To test the five research hypotheses, questionnaires containing a iPhone product harm crisis scenario of Apple Inc. were distributed to respondents. Respondents were asked to evaluate the scenario of ambiguous product harm crises and answer questions regarding their self-congruity, their attribution of responsibility to the company, their perceived social distance and their purchase intentions. Regression results reveal a significant, negative correlation between attributions of blame, perceived social distance and self-congruity. The results also indicate that the lower the level of perceived social distance is, the lower the level of perceived responsibility is. Moreover, perceived responsibility negatively affects purchase intentions, whereas perceived social distance is found to be negatively connected to purchase intentions. Managerial and theoretical implications based on the results of this paper are discussed.

Key words: Product harm crisis, Self-congruity, Perceived social distance, Perceived responsibility, Purchase intention