The purpose of this study is to explore how emotions felt by the public during a crisis influenced consumer loyalty intention and negative word-of-mouth (WOM). Considering the context-specific nature of emotions, the existing crisis emotions were further validated in a product consumption situation. Drawing on the theories of attribution and social sharing, a conceptual model, positing that crisis-specific emotions [attribution-independent, external-attribution-dependent (EAD) and internal-attribution-dependent (IAD) emotions] influenced negative WOM through behavioural intention, was constructed and empirically tested.
Data was collected from 240 Vietnamese consumers by using a scenario-based survey related to a fictional milk crisis.
The study findings showed that all but one crisis emotion had negative effects on both WOM and loyalty intention. Of these emotions, EAD and IAD were the strongest predictors of negative WOM and behavioural intention, respectively. It was also found that all crisis emotions significantly affected negative WOM through behavioural intention.
Although some efforts have been made to identify crisis emotions, the validity of the existing scales have not been affirmed in other crises related to product consumption situations. The results of the present study, thus, made contributions by enhancing an understanding of crisis emotions and their impacts on consumer loyalty intention and WOM communications.
Download PDF: Impacts of crisis emotions on negative word-of-mouth