Apology or Denial? Violation Type, Response and Consumer Distrust


Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

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  • Haichuan ZHAO

Related Research Unit(s)


Awarding Institution
Award date1 Aug 2016


Violation is a ubiquitous problem that affects every firm at some point in time. A violation can lead to consumer distrust and decreased future purchase intentions, and proper response is critical in minimizing the negative effects. Our research extends the extant literature which focuses on apology, and shows that under certain circumstances denial can be more effective in mitigating distrust. Specifically, we find that apology works better when the violation cause or domain is relatively high in changeability (e.g., competence). Contrarily, under low-changeability circumstances, we show that denial can change consumers’ belief more effectively by modifying their judgment on the initial violation. In addition to violation type and domain, our final study demonstrates that the pattern of the product reviews can also be an indicator of changeability, and thus affecting the effectiveness of different violation responses.

    Research areas

  • violation type, integrity-based violation, competence-based violation, violation-response, apology, denial, perceived stability, distrust