Audience decisions regarding whether to continue to support a corporation after it has been perceived as culpable for socially irresponsible behaviour is “coin of the realm” in selecting which firms (or which parts of a firm) will be able to survive a CSI-scandal. This paper analyses the main dimensions underlying post-CSI audience support decisions. Our empirical setting is an embedded polar case of audience support following a severe CSI scandal. Though we apply the framework developed in the nascent stream of attribution theory in CSI to comprehend the subjective processes underlying audience reactions, this study adds a number of dimensions to those already included in attribution studies. In particular, two dimensions of legitimacy played a key role: moral and market legitimacy. The capacity to manage the interplay between these two dimensions emerged as a key factor underlying audience support. Finally, possessing a sound source of competitive advantage in one (or more) of the businesses in which the corporation operates emerged as decisive in maintaining the support of independent audiences.
Mocciaro Li Destri, A., Minà, A., Picone, P.M. (2014). CORPORATE WRONGDOING AND AUDIENCE SUPPORT: LESSONS FROM THE PARMALAT SCANDAL. In Strategic Management Society Conference.