Understanding local consumers' reactions to perceived unfair product recalls of foreign brands: a relative deprivation perspective

Junyun Liao, Siying He, Yanghong Hu, Jiawen Chen, Xuebing Dong*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Global product-harm crises increased in recent years. After such crises, firms' product-recall policies varied across countries, which might cause consumers in some countries to feel unfairly treated. Drawing on the relative deprivation theory, this study aims to examine how perceived unfairness of local consumers alters their attitudes toward unfairness-enacting foreign brands and competing domestic brands.

This framework was tested by a netnography study on two product recalls from Samsung along with a consumer survey. While this netnography study provided preliminary support to the framework, survey data collected from 501 Samsung consumers after the Galaxy Note 7 crisis validated the theoretical model again.

Perceived unfairness increases local consumers' avoidance of involved foreign brands and their intention to purchase domestic brands through evoking anger toward the foreign brands. Moreover, the detrimental impact of perceived unfairness is found to be stronger when consumers' prior relationship quality is high.

To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first paper that investigates unfair product recalls across countries and aims to provide important insights into how consumers react to the unfair treatment of foreign brands in a global product-harm context. This study contributes to the product-harm crisis literature and provides important implications for global product-harm crisis management strategies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2216-2234
Number of pages19
JournalAsia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics
Issue number9
Early online date17 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished - 13 Nov 2023

Bibliographical note

This project is supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) (72272061, 71802097 and 71702097); The Ministry of Education of Humanities and Social Science project (22YJC630077); Philosophy and Social Sciences Planning Program of Guangzhou (2021GZYB05 and 2022JDGJ06); Research Institute on Brand Innovation and Development of Guangzhou (2021CS05); Jinan University Management School Funding Program (GY21013); Institute for Enterprise Development, Jinan University, Guangdong Province (2021MYZD04 and 2020CP03).


  • product harm crisis
  • product recall
  • foreign brands


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