Does perceived treatment of unfamiliar employees affect consumer brand attitudes? Social dominance ideologies reveal who cares the most and why

Matthew A. Maxwell-Smith, Tiffany Barnett White, Denise Lewin Loyd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

We investigate when, why, and for whom information regarding the treatment of unfamiliar employees—those with whom consumers have had no prior contact—is most likely to affect brand attitudes and intentions. Three experimental studies that varied whether a brand ostensibly offered employees more versus less favorable working conditions and benefits observed that: (i) perceptions of treatment of unfamiliar employees have a substantial impact on brand attitudes and corresponding intentions; (ii) political ideologies regarding the acceptance of inequality and dominance between societal groups play an important role in determining the magnitude of these effects; and (iii) joint effects of dominance ideologies and perceived employee treatment are mediated by empathy toward the employees and trust that workforce issues are handled appropriately. Thus, consumers empathize with and respond to distressing conditions of poor treatment for unfamiliar employees, and in this way, employee voices can have a powerful impact on their brand.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)461-471
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Business Research
Volume109
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2020

Keywords

  • Branding
  • Labor relations
  • Management
  • Political ideology
  • Social dominance orientation
  • Social dominance theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Marketing

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