Hashimoto, T. (橋本剛明), & Karasawa, K. (唐沢かおり) (2018). Impact of consumer power on consumers' reactions to corporate transgression. 企業不祥事への消費者の反応に勢力が与える影響 PLoS ONE, 13(5), e0196819. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0196819
We addressed how individuals’ power influences their judgments regarding corporate transgressions. Based on the Situated Focus Theory of Power, which theorizes that powerful people respond more in accordance to circumstantial factors, we tested the interaction of power and the type of corporate discourse offered by the accused company. Across two studies (overall N = 216), we experimentally primed power (Study 1) and manipulated participants’ sense of direct control over the company (Study 2). We consistently found an interaction effect of power and corporate discourse on people’s negative attitudes toward the company—particularly on the unwillingness to use the company’s products. Particularly, high-power individuals were prone to strongly vary their attitudes based on the mitigative/non-mitigative nature of the discourse, while those low in power were unsusceptible to the type of discourse. The results suggest how the potential rise of consumer power in society may critically influence the consumer-corporate relationships following corporate transgressions.