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EMAC 2022 Annual

How corporate irresponsibility affects negative word of mouth: the moderated mediation approach

Published: May 24, 2022


Grzegorz Zasuwa, The John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin; Magdalena Stefa?ska, Pozna? University of Economics and Business


The objective of this paper is to understand better how CSI affects negative word of mouth. Drawing on the consumer trust and moral norms literature, we develop a moderated mediation model explaining the role of corporate wrongdoing in creating negative word of mouth. Particularly, we regard consumer trust in the company as a mediator between CSI and negative word of mouth. To get a better insight into the mediation process, we conceptualize trust and distrust as separate concepts. In addition, we identify an important boundary condition, that is, consumer moral norms, that shape the relationships in the mediation model. Research hypotheses are tested in two studies. Study 1 reveals that consumer distrust in the company significantly mediates the effects of CSI on negative word of mouth, whereas the mediation effects of trust are not significant. Study 2 replicates the findings on mediation and provides evidence for the moderating function of moral norms