Economics or ethics? Exploring the role of CSR expectations in explaining consumers’ perceptions, motivations, and active communication behaviors about corporate misconduct

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Public Relations Review, 2019, 45 (1), pp. 76 - 87
Issue Date:
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© 2018 Elsevier Inc. The purpose of this study was to explore the role of corporate social responsibility expectations in explaining consumers’ perceptions, motivations and communication behaviors about corporate misconduct, especially in the context of allegations of workplace gender discrimination. A survey was conducted in December 2016 among 473 Americans. The results show that while people with economic CSR expectations do not evaluate corporate misconduct negatively, those with ethical CSR expectations perceive it morally wrong. However, both types of CSR expectations were found to impact consumers’ motivations to engage in communication behaviors about the crisis. Theoretical and empirical implications are discussed.
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