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Not all corporate scandals are equal in the public’s eye. An experimental application of the Stereotype Content Model on consumer stakeholder responses to companies’ moral transgressions

Componenti
Dott.ssa Camilla Barbarossa – Coordinatore (LUMSA)
Prof. Patrick De Pelsmacker (University of Antwerp, Belgium)
Prof.ssa Ingrid Moons(University of Antwerp, Belgium)
Prof. Patrick E. Murphy, University of Notre Dame, Mendoza School of Business, USA
Prof.ssa Simona Romani (LUISS Guido Cari)
Prof.ssa Silvia Grappi (Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia)

Partenariati nazionali e internazionali
University of Antwerp, Belgium
University of Notre Dame, Mendoza School of Business, USA
LUISS Guido Carli
Università degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia

Obiettivi della ricerca
Corporate misconducts ‒ such as product-harm crises ‒ are increasingly recurring events  worldwide, touching many industries ‒ such as food, automotive, toy and apparel. Corporate wrongdoings may dramatically affect consumers’ health, damage the natural environment, and impact brand equity. However, despite the severity of their effects, there is a paucity of studies that examine how consumers evaluate and respond to brands involved in product-harm crises, and how consumers’ prejudicial views about brands may bias these responses. The research project addresses these research gaps.
Following attribution theory, the research project aims to analyze the psychological mechanisms through which consumers form judgments about a brand’s culpability in the aftermath of a scandal. First, the cognitive mechanism of attribution and the causal variables of attributions of blame (i.e., locus, stability, and controllability) are addressed.
Second, consumers’ emotional reactions to negative corporate behaviors are investigated (i.e., anger, fear, contempt, disgust).
Third, we also aim to evaluate how consumers’ prejudicial views about brands may bias their (cognitive, affective, and behavioral) responses. With this regard, following the intra‐ and intergroup judgments and the stereotype content model literature, this project aims to assess how national stereotypes of perceived competence and perceived warmth affect the mechanism of blame attribution. Specifically, we investigate whether ‒ and to what extent ‒ the brand of origin cue, and its dimensions of competence and warmth, plays a key role in affecting consumers reactions toward the faulty brand.
Finally, we define the boundary conditions under which these psychological mechanisms occur.
The research project involves a multi-method approach. However, preference is given to quantitative methods (i.e., surveys and experiments) and statistical techniques of data analysis (i.e., structural equation modeling, ANOVA).
The theoretical contribution of the study and practical implications for managers and policy makers are finally addressed.

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