Product harm information spreading in the marketplace may have profound consequences for companies, public policy makers and consumer well-being. However, limited research is available on what makes consumers share such information with others. This paper examines how self-relevance and self-construal affect the sharing of product harm information and the underlying processes that shape sharing. Five experiments demonstrate that under independent self-construal, highly self-relevant product harm information is less likely to be shared. The reluctance to share highly self-relevant information is attenuated under interdependent self-construal. The differential effects of self-construal are related to self-serving processes and motivations for sharing product harm information with others. The results apply to the sharing of negative information, but not positive information. Companies may use these findings to manage the diffusion of product harm information.

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ERIM Top-Core Articles
International Journal of Research in Marketing
Rotterdam School of Management (RSM), Erasmus University

Akpinar, E., Verlegh, P., & Smidts, A. (2018). Sharing product harm information. International Journal of Research in Marketing. doi:10.1016/j.ijresmar.2018.01.001