Date of Award

1-1-2010

Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Department

Moore School of Business

Sub-Department

Business Administration

First Advisor

William O. Bearden

Abstract

Past research suggests that even "mainstream" consumers may repeatedly engage in a variety of deviant consumer behaviors, ranging from mild acts such as verbal abuse of company employees and not reporting billing mistakes, to criminally punishable behavior such as price-switching and shoplifting (Tian and Keep 2002). But what marketplace experiences prompt consumers to engage in such deviance and what can explain its "epidemic" status in society (Berry and Seiders 2008)? Recent research has focused on dishonest behavior encouraged by an opportunity for financial gain (e.g., Mazar et al. 2008). The present research extends this area by exploring the impact of a given company's wrongdoing on the likelihood of deviant consumer behavior toward not only the company that perpetrated the wrongdoing (i.e., "punishing the guilty"), but also the spillover effect on other companies that have not directly wronged an individual (i.e., "punishing the guiltless"). It is posited that wrongdoing of marketplace entities may contribute to wider-spread consumer deviance than can be explained by simple retribution. Furthermore, the mechanisms underlying these effects are investigated.

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