Consumers’ responses to negative publicity: the influence of culture on information search and negative word-of-mouth
Negative publicity is believed to have detrimental impacts on a brand; however, consumers’ responses to negative publicity may not always be negative, and the responses may vary in different cultural contexts. The current study aims to understand the influence of internalised aspects of culture on Chinese consumers’ responses to negative publicity. Our results suggest that Chinese consumers with higher levels of collectivism and uncertainty avoidance are more likely to search for further information and to spread negative word-of-mouth when confronted with negative publicity, than those with lower levels. Further, consumers with higher levels of power distance are more likely to search for further information when the negative information is severe and to participate in negative word-of-mouth when the negative information is less severe, than those with lower levels of power distance. Finally, when exposed to negative publicity, further information search is positively related and negative word-of-mouth negatively related to brand attitudes and purchase intentions.
KeywordsNegative publicity Culture Information search Negative word-of-mouth Brand attitude Purchasing intention
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.
- Adams, C. (2016). NZ-Made Karicare Milk Formula is Pulled from China. 30 March. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11613544.
- Arndt, J. 1967. Word of mouth advertising: A review of the literature. London: Advertising Research Foundation.Google Scholar
- Ajzen, I., and M. Fishbein. 1980. Understanding Attitudes and Predicting Social Behaviour. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
- Bond, J., and R. Kirshenbaum. 1998. Under the Radar: Talking to Today’s Cynical Consumer. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
- Burrough, B. 2006. Sleeping with the fishes. Vanity Fair 13: 244–256.Google Scholar
- CCPB. (2015). China Consumer Protection Overview. 20 April. http://www.315.gov.cn/wqsj/12315sj/zj12315sj/201604/t20160420_168093.html.
- Charlett, D., R. Garland, and N. Marr. 1995. How damaging is negative word of mouth. Marketing Bulletin 6(1): 42–50.Google Scholar
- Chin, W.W. 2001. PLS-Graph User’s Guide. Houston: CT Bauer College of Business, University of Houston.Google Scholar
- Crotts, J. 1999. Consumer decision making and prepurchase information search. In Consumer Behavior in Travel and Tourism, ed. A. Pizam and Y. Mansfeld, 149–168. Hove: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
- de Maya, S.R., M.S. Piñero, I.L. López, and M.L. Pérez. 2012. The role of e-WOM in international communication. Research on International Advertising 3: 325–350.Google Scholar
- de Mooij, M. 2010. Consumer Behavior and Culture: Consequences for Global Marketing and Advertising. Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
- Dubois, S. (2012). Why McDonald’s Should have Known Better. 31 January. http://management.fortune.cnn.com/2012/01/31/why-mcdonalds-should-have-known-better.
- Eagly, A.H., and S. Chaiken. 1993. The Psychology of Attitudes: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich College Publishers. Texas: Fort Worth.Google Scholar
- Hair, J.F., W.C. Black, B.J. Babin, R.E. Anderson, and R.L. Tatham. 2010. Multivariate Data Analysis. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
- Hofstede, G.H. 1984. Culture’s Consequences: International Differences in Work-Related Values. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications Inc.Google Scholar
- Hofstede, G.H. 2001. Culture’s Consequences: Comparing Values, Behaviors, Institutions, and Organizations Across Nations. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications Inc.Google Scholar
- Kim, J. (2010). Korean Americans’ Online Health Information Seeking and the Role of Online Communities: In the Context of Diabetes-Related Information Search. Unpublished PhD Thesis. University of Minnesota.Google Scholar
- Kim, J.Y., J. Shim, and K.M. Ahn. 2011. Social networking service: Motivation, pleasure, and behavioural intention to use. Journal of Computer Information Systems 51(4): 92–101.Google Scholar
- Kock, N. 2015. WarpPLS 5.0 User Manual. Laredo: ScriptWarp Systems.Google Scholar
- Liu, F. and Kanso, A. (2011) The effect of negative publicity in brand and product evaluation: An empirical study. In Proceedings of American Academy of Advertising Asia-Pacific Conference. Brisbane, Australia.Google Scholar
- Liu, F. and Yu, M. (2013). Chinese consumer response to negative information. In Proceedings of Australian & New Zealand Marketing Academy Conference. Auckland, New Zealand.Google Scholar
- Maistre, R. (2004). Nortel Leaves All Doors Open. 2 June. http://www.lightreading.com/document.asp?doc_id=53776&site=lightreading. Accessed 1 December 2004.
- Marcos, M. C., García-Gavilanes, R. O., Bataineh, E., and Pasarin, L. (2013). Using eye tracking to identify cultural differences in information seeking behavior. In Proceedings of Workshop Many People, Many Eyes; 28 Apr–2 May, Paris, France.Google Scholar
- O’Connell, V. 2006. Ripe for change: Wine sales thrive as old barriers start to crumble. The Wall Street Journal 25 (Augest 25): A1.Google Scholar
- Pan, Z. P. (2011). Research advances and prospects on the effects of negative online review dissemination. In Proceedings of the Information Management, Innovation Management and Industrial Engineering (ICIII); 26–27 November, Shenzheng, China, pp. 218–220.Google Scholar
- Shah, S.S.H., J. Aziz, A. Jaffari, S. Waris, W. Ejaz, M. Fatima, and S.K. Sherazi. 2012. The impact of brands on consumer purchase intentions. Asian Journal of Business Management 4(2): 105–110.Google Scholar
- Shaw, J., and W. Steers. 2000. Negativity and polarity effects in gathering information to form an impression. Journal of Social Behaviour and Personality 15(3): 399–412.Google Scholar
- Sherrell, D.L., and R.E. Reidenbach. 1986. A consumer response framework for negative publicity: Suggestions for response strategies. AkronBusiness and Economic Review 17(2): 37–43.Google Scholar
- Sina. (2018). How to Protect Financial Safety. http://finance.sina.com.cn/money/jrbgt/2018-01-04. Accessed on January 10, 2018.
- Triandis, H.C. 1995. Individualism & Collectivism. Boulder: Westview Press.Google Scholar
- Weinberger, M.C., C.T. Allen, and W.R. Dillon. 1981. Negative information: Perspectives and research directions. In Advances in Consumer Research, ed. K.B. Monroe, 398–404. Ann Abor, MI: Association for Consumer Research.Google Scholar
- Yin, E., and C.J. Choi. 2005. The globalization myth: The case of China. MIR: Management International Review 45(1): 103–120.Google Scholar
- Zhang, L., and R.D. Taylor. 2009. Exploring the reciprocal effect of negative information of brand extensions on parent brand. Marketing Management Journal 19(1): 1–15.Google Scholar