Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 158, Issue 3, pp 875–891 | Cite as

The Differential Influence of Identification on Ethical Judgment: The Role of Brand Love

  • M. Deniz DalmanEmail author
  • Mari W. Buche
  • Junhong Min
Original Paper


As negative information about companies becomes widely available and spreads rapidly through digital communications, understanding consumer reactions to these events and how human perceptions are shaped becomes increasingly important. In this paper, we investigate how consumers’ identification with brands and their love for them affect their support for the brand during extremely unethical (negative) situations. The results indicate that brand identification both decreases (direct effect) and increases (indirect effect through brand love) consumers’ ethical judgment following extremely unethical events. Moreover, we find that consumers who are in a love type relationship with the brand proactively shield the brand from other consumers by employing two brand supportive behaviors; sin of omission and brand defense.


Brand identification Brand love Extreme unethicality Sin of omission Brand defense 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of ManagementSaint Petersburg State UniversitySt. PetersburgRussia
  2. 2.Michigan Technological UniversityHoughtonUSA

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