The effectiveness of corporate communicative responses to accusations of unethical behavior

Abstract

When corporations are accused of unethical behaviour by external actors, executives from those organizations are usually compelled to offer communicative responses to defend their corporate image. To demonstrate the effect that corporate executives' communicative responses have on third parties' perception of corporate image, we present the Corporate Communicative Response Model in this paper. Of the five potential communicative responses contained in this model (no response, denial, excuse, justification, and concession), results from our empirical test demonstrate that a concession is the most effective and robust communicative option.

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Jeffrey L. Bradford is an Assistant Professor in the Marketing Department at Bowling Green State University. His primary research interests are in the areas of marketing ethics and public policy. His previous research has been published inJournal of Business Ethics, andJournal of Business Strategies.

Dennis E. Garrett is an Associate Professor in the Marketing Department at Marquette University. His primary research interests are in the areas of marketing ethics and consumer complaints. His previous research has been published inJournal of Marketing, Journal of Marketing Research, Journal of Business Ethics, Communication Monographs, andBusiness and Society Review. He is also a co-author ofMarketing Theory: Evolution and Evaluation (1988, John Wiley & Sons).

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Bradford, J.L., Garrett, D.E. The effectiveness of corporate communicative responses to accusations of unethical behavior. J Bus Ethics 14, 875–892 (1995). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00882067

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Keywords

  • Economic Growth
  • Defend
  • Response Model
  • Empirical Test
  • Unethical Behavior