A note on modeling consumer reactions to a crisis: The case of the mad cow disease

J.M.E. Pennings, B. Wansink, M.T.G. Meulenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

175 Citations (Scopus)


What drives the behavior of consumers when faced with a product-related crisis, such as that involving food contamination or life-threatening design flaws? For both consumers and companies, these crises have become of increasing importance because of the globalization of markets and an increased coverage by the media. Marketers need to understand why and how consumers react to a crisis. We show that by decoupling risk response behavior of consumers into the separate components of risk perception and risk attitude, a more robust conceptualization and prediction of consumers' reactions is possible. Such a framework helps provide answers on how marketers can deal with such types of crises. The merits of this conceptualization are illustrated in two field studies that examine the reactions of German, Dutch, and American consumers to the BSE (mad cow disease) crisis
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-100
JournalInternational Journal of Research in Marketing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • risk-taking
  • perceived risk
  • empirical-test
  • utility
  • decisions
  • scale

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