Two Essays on the Role of Consumer Animosity on Consumer Behaviors
Damaging effects of hostility between nations is causing worldwide tension. In the marketing literature, Klein, Ettenson, and Morris (1998) were the first to relate tension between countries to consumer consumption behaviors and were the first to establish the animosity model of the repulsion of foreign product purchase. They defined consumer animosity as “anger related to previous or ongoing political, military, economic, or diplomatic events” (Klein, Ettenson, & Morris, 1998, p. 90). Furthermore, the effects of animosity are becoming more prevalent as consumers increasingly act on their anger, with the rise in anti-globalization and the emergence of social media (McGregor, 2018). Thus, it is important for both researchers and brand managers to examine potential ways that could mitigate the negative effect of consumer animosity. This dissertation consists of two essays. Essay 1 is a review of the consumer animosity literature, which is based on a meta-analysis of past studies and some subsequent experimental studies. The meta-analysis summarized 37 studies of consumer animosity covering from 1998 to 2018. Subsequently, to prove evidence of causation, we conduct a series of experiments to test the boundary conditions by priming cultural values at the individual level. Hereby, we reconcile controversial findings from the consumer animosity literature and suggest that the effect of animosity varies across cultures. Essay 2 uses the insights gained from Essay 1 regarding the negative effect of consumer animosity on willingness to buy. Further, it demonstrated the importance of consumers’ coping strategies while dealing with negative emotions toward the offending country. Specifically, this essay conceptualizes a model in which negative emotions interact with emotional venting to affect individuals’ behaviors. Three studies provided strong evidence that emotional venting can significantly mitigate the negative effect of consumer animosity on willingness to buy and donation decisions. Taken together, the dissertation provided a comprehensive literature review of consumer animosity, addressed the inconsistent results in this literature, and demonstrated the importance of cultural values in influencing the consumer animosity - willingness to buy relationship, and the role of emotional venting in shaping angry consumers’ behaviors. Finally, suggestions for future research and applications are provided.