Softening the Blow: Company Self-Disclosure of Negative Information Lessens Damaging Effects on Consumer Judgment and Decision Making
- 1k Downloads
Is self-disclosure of negative information a viable strategy for a company to lessen the damage done to consumer responses? Three experiments assessed whether self-disclosing negative information in itself lessened the damaging impact of this information compared to third-party disclosure of the same information. Results indicated that mere self-disclosure of a negative event positively affected consumers’ choice behavior, perceived company trustworthiness, and company evaluations compared to third-party disclosure. The effectiveness of the self-disclosure strategy was moderated by the initial reputation of a company, such that its impact was only observed for companies that had a poor reputation at the outset. For them, self-disclosure considerably lessened the impact of negative information compared to third-party disclosure. For companies that enjoyed a positive reputation, type of disclosure did not affect consumer responses. Mediation analysis showed that perceptions of company trustworthiness underlie the effects of the self-disclosure strategy on consumer judgment.
KeywordsConsumer behavior Social influence processes Judgment and decision making Company trustworthiness beliefs
The authors would like to thank Enny Das, Peter Kerkhof, Cecile vd. Heuvel, and Wouter Stegenga for their valuable input and assistance in data collection.
- Campbell, M. C., & Kirmani, A. (2008). I know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it: The use of persuasion knowledge model in consumer research. In C. P. Haugtvedt, P. M. Herr, & F. R. Cardes (Eds.), Handbook of consumer psychology (pp. 549–757). Mahwah: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
- Chaiken, S., & Trope, Y. (Eds.). (1999). Dual process theories in social psychology. New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
- Cialdini, R. B. (2009). Influence: Science and practice (5th ed.). Boston: Allyn and Bacon.Google Scholar
- Eagly, A. H., & Chaiken, S. (1993). The psychology of attitudes. Fort Worth: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.Google Scholar
- Eagly, A. H., Chaiken, S., & Wood, W. (1981). An attributional analysis of persuasion. In J. H. Harvey, W. J. Ickes, & R. F. Kidd (Eds.), New directions in attribution research (Vol. 3, pp. 37–62). Hillsdale: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
- Fennis, B. M., & Stroebe, W. (2010). The psychology of advertising. Hove: Psychology.Google Scholar
- Fishbein, M., & Ajzen, I. (2010). Predicting and changing behavior: The reasoned action approach. New York: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
- Kim, P. H., Dirks, K. T., Cooper, C. D., & Ferrin, D. L. (2006). When more blame is better than less: The implications of internal vs. external attributions for the repair of trust after a competence- vs. integrity-based trust violation. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 99, 49–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Knowles, E. D., & Riner, D. D. (2007). Omega approaches to persuasion: Overcoming resistance. In A. R. Pratkanis (Ed.), The science of social influence: Advances and future progress. New York: Psychology.Google Scholar
- Mayer, R. C., Davis, J. H., & Schoorman, F. D. (1995). An integrative model of organizational trust. Academy of Management Review, 20, 709–734.Google Scholar
- Williams, K. D., & Dolnik, L. (2001). Revealing the worst first: Stealing thunder as a social influence strategy. In J. P. Forgas & K. D. Williams (Eds.), Social influence: Direct and indirect processes (pp. 213–235). Hove: Psychology.Google Scholar