Product-harm crisis management in France and Denmark: A case study of the Lactalis salmonella crisis exploring the influence of nationality on crisis perception

Karoliina Meimi Matilda Kuusisto & Lauriane Estelle Francoise Veron

Student thesis: Master thesis


AbstractProduct-harm crises are becoming an increasingly recurring occurrence that can have far-reaching implications for the organisations which have to manage their consequences. Inparticular, multinational corporations are faced with the difficult task of handling crises across the world and adapting their strategies to various countries. Hence, it is important for crisis managers to understand how product-harm crises are perceived in different countries. Thus, this thesis considers how factors influencing crisis perception (namely company reputation, CSR, CEO visibility, consumer history with a brand, external effects, time, uncertainty avoidance and perceived severity of outcomes) differ across countries. This thesis takes on a case study approach, comparing the perception of the Lactalis salmonella crisis in Denmark and France. A sequential exploratory mixed method design was applied, which included the collection of qualitative data through semi-structured interviews, informing the collection of quantitative data through an online questionnaire. The findings establish that the crisis perception between France and Denmark is similar with regard to most of the factors considered. However, the perception was found to differ in terms of media influence, role of time, uncertainty avoidance and perceived severity. As such, this thesis confirms that crisis perception across two countries differs, hence, that the crisis handling strategy should be adapted. This thesis contributes to theory-building by studying the above-mentioned factors in a new combination. In addition, it aims at bringing a European insight to the body of research on crisis perception. Finally, it offers practical insights by suggesting a potential crisis response and image restoration strategy that Lactalis could adopt in face of this crisis.

EducationsMSc in International Marketing and Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2018
Number of pages183