Páginas: 33 (8235 palabras) Publicado: 14 de diciembre de 2012
Moderators of the Negativity Effect: Commitment, Identification, and Consumer Sensitivity to Corporate Social Performance
Tsung-Chi Liu
National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan

Chung-Yu Wang
Shu-Te University, Taiwan

Li-Wei Wu
Tunghi University, Taiwan

Numerous studies have identified constructs such as commitment and brand familiarity as moderators of negativity effects.However, boundary conditions for this moderation have yet to be identified within a retailing context. This study tries to rectify this gap in the literature. This study finds that three factors (commitment, consumer–company identification, and consumer sensitivity to corporate social performance) moderate attitude change toward a retailer following exposure to moderately negative (vs. positive)publicity. However, given extremely negative information, the buffering effects of the moderating factors disappear, and attitude changes are significant for all consumers. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Psychology & Marketing, Vol. 27(1): 54–70 (January 2010) Published online in Wiley InterScience ( © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. DOI: 10.1002/mar.20319 54

Unethicalmarketing behavior is any behavior that is illegal or morally unacceptable to the larger community (Jones, 1991). Examples include Dow Corning’s release of potentially harmful silicone breast implants, Sears Auto Service’s questionable billing practices, MetLife’s sales tactics, and Nike’s and Wal-Mart’s reported use of sweatshop labor. Independent media reports are a credible source ofinformation, so they are more influential than other marketer-driven communications (Bond & Kirshenbaum, 1998). Research has shown that unethical marketing behavior negatively influences consumers’ attitudes (e.g., Babin, Boles, & Griffin, 1999; Folkes & Kamins, 1999; Kim, Carvalho, Cooksey, 2007). Research also suggests that people have a “negativity bias” in evaluating corporations’ ethical behavior, inthat they give more weight to negative behavior than to positive behavior (Reeder & Brewer, 1979). Furthermore, commitment (e.g., Ahluwalia, Burnkrant, & Unnava, 2000; Funk & Pritchard, 2006), brand familiarity (Ahluwalia, 2002), and goals of consumers (Ahluwalia, 2002) have been identified as moderators of negativity effects. Dornoff and Tankersley (1975) develop 14 scenarios involving ethicalissues situated within a retailing context and demonstrate that differences do exist between what consumers and retailers feel to be appropriate behavior in market transactions. However, these works do not examine boundary conditions on the relationship between the valence of information (negative vs. positive) and attitude change within a retailing context. This work lays the foundation for atheoretical framework of negative (vs. positive) information processing by focusing on consumers’ processing of such information about a retailer’s actions; relatively little research has focused on retailers (e.g., Ahluwalia, Burnkrant, & Unnava, 2000; Dawar & Pillutla, 2000). Incidents of negative publicity regarding retailers are widely prevalent in the marketplace; for example, Carrefour’s misleadingprice advertisements in Taiwan and, in the U.S., Wal-Mart’s mistreatment of immigrant janitors, paying poverty-level wages, and failure to provide adequate affordable health care. Notably, the New York Times reported on November 1, 2005, that Wal-Mart’s growth had slowed that year, and according to a confidential report prepared by McKinsey & Company, 2%–8% of Wal-Mart consumers have alreadystopped shopping at the retailer because of the “negative press they have heard.” Hence, this study seeks to address whether unethical actions taken by hypermarket retailers has a negative impact on consumer attitudes. Specifically, this work tries to determine the conditions that can mitigate changes in consumer attitudes toward a retailer they perceive as behaving unethically. Previous research...
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