Academy of Marketing Studies Journal (Print ISSN: 1095-6298; Online ISSN: 1528-2678)


How the Hiring of Stigmatized Populations can Lead to a CSR Backfire Effect

Author(s): Jingzhi Shang and Todd Green

Previous research shows that consumer attitudes toward Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) are equivocal. In some cases, CSR can even backfire and hurt the company. In the current research, we investigate the backfire effect of CSR by examining consumer responses to the hiring of stigmatized populations. Although it has becoming increasingly common for companies to hire stigmatized populations, our research reveals that this socially responsible practice does not bring desired consumer responses beyond a good CSR reputation. The results of three experiments show that the products produced by stigmatized populations induce feelings of disgust, which lead to lower product evaluations and lower purchase intentions. Moreover, it shows that visualization is not necessary to induce this negative effect and that this negative effect still exists when consumers are not the users of the products. However, this phenomenon has a boundary condition - the backfire effect is attenuated when consumers have a low degree of physical contact with the products.

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