The purpose of this paper is to examine the role of prior-CSR reputation in protecting a company’s CSR reputation during product-harm crises and how it influences consumers’ crisis-related behavioral intentions (i.e. supportive communication, resistance to negative information and crisis resiliency). The authors test whether the impact of prior-CSR reputation differs by crisis type as well.
A randomized 2 (CSR reputation: good vs bad) × 2 (product-harm crisis type: tampering vs preventable) full factorial design in two industry settings (food industry and retail industry) with consumer samples was conducted.
The results revealed the determinant role of positive prior-CSR reputation in protecting reputational assets. A company with positive CSR reputation experiences no decrease in its CSR reputation during victim crises and fairly minor decreases during preventable crises. However, a company with a bad prior-CSR reputation experiences a greater decline in its CSR reputation across both crises; the level of decline during victim crises was as substantial as the decline experienced during a preventable crisis. The prior-CSR reputation directly affects consumers’ crisis-related intentions, and indirectly does so through post-CSR reputation. As post-CSR reputation becomes more positive, consumers display greater resistance to negative information, supportive communication intent and crisis resiliency.
This study advances the understanding of the role of corporate reputation during crises and provides additional empirical evidence of how the buffering effect of CSR can extend beyond product-related intentions among consumers. The findings can induce companies to adopt CSR programs more systematically and proactively under a long-term strategic plan.
Kim, Y. and Woo, C. (2019), "The buffering effects of CSR reputation in times of product-harm crisis", Corporate Communications: An International Journal, Vol. 24 No. 1, pp. 21-43. https://doi.org/10.1108/CCIJ-02-2018-0024Download as .RIS
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