The Effects of Country of Origin Signalling Misdirection on Consumers’ Willingness to Purchase Goods: A Study of the Danish Wine Market

Simon Cox

Student thesis: Master thesis


This thesis aims to investigate the psychological effect country of origin signalling has on consumers’ willingness to purchase a particular product (wine, in this case) when faced with misdirection over the product’s true origin, or provenance. Psychological signalling can disrupt the rationality with which both amateurs and experts utilise cognitive information cues in their evaluation of a product. This thesis aims to explore the validity of provenance as one such disruptive force, and offers further investigation into the degree to which three specific moderators, namely specific-country affinity, perceived fairness of the consumer, and the likelihood with which the consumer is to seek vengeance, impact upon consumer behaviour in light of provenance misdirection. In addition, this thesis will contain anecdotal evidence of real-life instances in which misleading information cues have caused outrage among consumers. This thesis will make use of a pragmatic, deductive experiment approach, with data collated in the form of two quantitative control questionnaires and one quantitative experiment questionnaire distributed to around 300 respondents in total. The data collated was able to support that there was a country of origin effect taking place, as well as to determine the degree to which the misdirection impacted upon consumers’ willingness to purchase the product. Additionally, the thesis was able to support a hypothesis that specific-country affinity is a driver of postmisdirection product re-evaluations, whereas there was no general link between the consumer’s likelihood to seek vengeance and their re-evaluation of the product. The degree to which the consumer perceived themselves to be fair, or the degree to which their re-evaluation of the product having being misled is borne of rationality, produced mixed results. It appears that while no consumer was willing to call their own fairness or morality into question when re-evaluating a product which has caused them a degree of service harm, their level of generosity to a third party was heavily impacted. This suggests that while their perceived degree of morality may not have affected their product evaluation, the misdirection itself may have wider implications on their immediate consumer behaviour.

EducationsMSocSc in Service Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2016
Number of pages103
SupervisorsAlexander Josiassen