Past research on scapegoating argues that this crisis communication strategy is often ineffective because it can be perceived as an unfair attempt at shifting blame. In contrast, a few studies have shown that scapegoating can be effective by increasing the perceived ethicality of the sender relative to the target that is presented as responsible for wrongdoing. Reconciling these inconsistent findings, we show that the relative effectiveness of scapegoating depends on the perceptions of the sender and of the target. Our findings show that both the positioning of the sender as an underdog or a top dog and the positive or negative CSR record of the target contribute to explaining the effectiveness of scapegoating. Following a crisis, scapegoating appears to be most effective when the sender is an underdog and the target has a negative CSR record. The effectiveness of scapegoating for an underdog is however reduced when the target has a positive CSR record. At the opposite end, scapegoating might backfire when the sender is a top dog that attacks a target with a positive CSR record. Finally, when a top dog attacks a target with a negative CSR record, scapegoating reduces negative word of mouth even though this effect does not appear to be mediated by perceived ethicality. The study contributes to research on scapegoating communications and on the consequences of an underdog positioning and a positive CSR record for companies trying to manage the negative fallout from an ethical crisis.

How the sender’s positioning and the target’s CSR record influence the effectiveness of scapegoating crisis communications / Antonetti, P.; Baghi, I.. - In: MARKETING LETTERS. - ISSN 0923-0645. - 32:4(2021), pp. 411-423. [10.1007/s11002-021-09577-5]

How the sender’s positioning and the target’s CSR record influence the effectiveness of scapegoating crisis communications

Baghi I.
2021

Abstract

Past research on scapegoating argues that this crisis communication strategy is often ineffective because it can be perceived as an unfair attempt at shifting blame. In contrast, a few studies have shown that scapegoating can be effective by increasing the perceived ethicality of the sender relative to the target that is presented as responsible for wrongdoing. Reconciling these inconsistent findings, we show that the relative effectiveness of scapegoating depends on the perceptions of the sender and of the target. Our findings show that both the positioning of the sender as an underdog or a top dog and the positive or negative CSR record of the target contribute to explaining the effectiveness of scapegoating. Following a crisis, scapegoating appears to be most effective when the sender is an underdog and the target has a negative CSR record. The effectiveness of scapegoating for an underdog is however reduced when the target has a positive CSR record. At the opposite end, scapegoating might backfire when the sender is a top dog that attacks a target with a positive CSR record. Finally, when a top dog attacks a target with a negative CSR record, scapegoating reduces negative word of mouth even though this effect does not appear to be mediated by perceived ethicality. The study contributes to research on scapegoating communications and on the consequences of an underdog positioning and a positive CSR record for companies trying to manage the negative fallout from an ethical crisis.
2021
32
4
411
423
How the sender’s positioning and the target’s CSR record influence the effectiveness of scapegoating crisis communications / Antonetti, P.; Baghi, I.. - In: MARKETING LETTERS. - ISSN 0923-0645. - 32:4(2021), pp. 411-423. [10.1007/s11002-021-09577-5]
Antonetti, P.; Baghi, I.
File in questo prodotto:
File Dimensione Formato  
How_the_senders_positioning_and_the_targets_CSR_.pdf

Accesso riservato

Tipologia: Versione pubblicata dall'editore
Dimensione 622.48 kB
Formato Adobe PDF
622.48 kB Adobe PDF   Visualizza/Apri   Richiedi una copia
Pubblicazioni consigliate

Licenza Creative Commons
I metadati presenti in IRIS UNIMORE sono rilasciati con licenza Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal, mentre i file delle pubblicazioni sono rilasciati con licenza Attribuzione 4.0 Internazionale (CC BY 4.0), salvo diversa indicazione.
In caso di violazione di copyright, contattare Supporto Iris

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11380/1254143
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus 3
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 3
social impact