Search Conferences

Type in any word, words or author name. This searchs through the abstract title, keywords and abstract text and authors. You may search all conferences or just select one conference.

 All Conferences
 EMAC 2019 Annual Conference
 EMAC 2020 Annual Conference
 EMAC 2020 Regional Conference
 EMAC 2021 Annual Conference
 EMAC 2021 Regional Conference
 EMAC 2022 Annual
 EMAC 2022 Regional Conference

EMAC 2019 Annual Conference

Customer-firm affiliation matters: The impact of social distance on consumers’ moral judgments of performance and immorality

Published: May 28, 2019


Carolyn Lo, Monash University; Yelena Tsarenko, Monash University; Dewi Tojib, Monash University


construal level theory; moral judgments; moral reasoning


This study proposes that there is a discrepancy in moral judgments between non-customers and customers affiliated with the firm of a transgressing leader despite being exposed to the same information about an unethical violation. Drawing on construal level theory, we hypothesize that social distance differentially influences consumers’ judgments of the transgressor’s professional performance but not judgments of the immoral behavior. Results from two experimental studies consistently demonstrate that customers of a firm (low social distance) form more favorable performance judgments without causing them to construe more lenient immorality judgments. However, social distance affects both performance and immorality judgments when mediating mechanisms (conscious and non-conscious moral reasoning) are accounted for. Our findings contribute to the burgeoning discourse on ethical business transgressions and shed light on the distinct mechanisms that guide consumers’ moral judgments.