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EMAC 2022 Annual


The Impact of Corporate Social Irresponsibility on Ethical Consumer Behavior
(A2022-106545)

Published: May 24, 2022

AUTHORS

Sumin Kim, Alliance Manchester Business School, The University of Manchester; Hongwei He, Alliance Manchester Business School, The University of Manchester; Anders Gustafsson, BI Norwegian Business School

ABSTRACT

Corporate social irresponsibility (CSI) refers to a violation of the social contract between the corporations and society. The existing literature has documented a large body of evidence on its effect on negative consumer responses and behaviors, such as negative-word-of-mouth and unethical consumer behavior towards the transgressing firm. However, limited attention has been paid to examining how CSI influences consumer ethical and prosocial behavior. Across four studies, the research reveals that the perception of CSI harm induces consumers to behave more ethically because of the arousal of anger, and that the effect becomes stronger for those who find the focal social issue less relevant to themselves. This research contributes to the CSI literature by establishing the positive effect of CSI harm on ethical consumer behaviors through the mechanism of the moral emotion of anger, as some consumers are motivated to restore equity by engaging in such behaviors.