Journal of Consumer Sciences

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Emerging consumers’ appraisals, emotions and complaint behaviour concerning product performance failure

S Donoghue, HM de Klerk, B Isaac


This article deals with the interplay between emerging collectivistic consumers’ blame attributions, emotions experienced and coping strategies employed following appraisals of product performance failures. The general aim was to explore and describe emerging African consumers’ appraisals, emotions and complaint behaviour concerning major electrical household appliance performance failures. A cross-sectional survey was performed in 2009 amongst female consumers who resided in Gaborone, Botswana, and who had experienced dissatisfaction concerning the performance failure of a major household appliance item. A self-administered questionnaire was distributed by means of convenience sampling, which generated 200 usable responses. With consumer complaint behaviour theory and cognitive appraisal theory as point of departure, the study revealed that female consumers experience high levels of a variety of emotions, such as anger, shame, surprise, sadness and frustration, following product failure that was mainly blamed on the manufacturer and retailer. The results of this study points to the strong power of emotions in consumers’ choice of coping strategies in the form of complaint behaviour, with, amongst others, significant relationships between high levels of anger, sadness, shame and frustration on the one hand, and problem-focused and emotion-focused coping strategies on the other. Implications for marketing strategies and the redress environment in specifically emerging collectivistic economies are spelled out.

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