Using the combined theoretical umbrella of organizational legitimacy theory, service-dominant logic, fairness heuristic theory and two-factor theory, the purpose of this paper is to investigate the effectiveness of different food recall strategies (recall proactiveness and compensation) in terms of both how consumers react (perceived organizational legitimacy and purchase intention) and how recall norms would influence the effectiveness in three countries. In addition to the reporting of important results, this paper provides implications for food companies to handle effectively the recalls, especially when the recalls are cross-country.
A 2 compensation (high vs low) ×2 recall strategy (proactive vs passive) scenario experiment was conducted in Hong Kong, the USA and Mainland China. After checking the effectiveness of manipulation, the paper tested the main effect and interaction effect of recall proactiveness and compensation on perceived organizational legitimacy and purchase intention. In addition, the mediating effect of perceived organizational legitimacy between recall strategies and purchase intention was also tested.
Significant main effect, interaction and mediation effect were found across the three countries with a different pattern. For the USA and Mainland China which have strong recall norms, the interaction found followed the predictions of the two-factory theory. However, the pattern found in Hong Kong, which has weak recall norms, followed the predictions of the fairness heuristic theory. Full mediation effect of perceived organizational legitimacy between compensation and purchase intention was found in the USA and Mainland China, while it was only partial in Hong Kong. For the mediation between proactiveness and purchase intention, full mediation was found in Hong Kong and the USA, while it was only partial in Mainland China.
First, this study differentiated food recall strategy into two dimensions – recall proactiveness and compensation. Second, this study tested the applicability of two-factor theory and fairness heuristic theory in recalls by testing the competing hypotheses proposed according to the two theories. Finally, this study can further help our understanding of the recall effectiveness across different recall norms.
- Product recalls
- Organizational legitimacy
- Fairness heuristic theory
- Recall norms
- Recall strategy
- Two-factor theory