Managing an Industrial Stigma Spillover: The Role of Moral Emotions

  • Author / Creator
    Zhang, Rongrong
  • An industrial stigma spillover occurs when innocent firms’ survival and performance are compromised simply being in the same industry with other firms implicated in a negative event. An established body of research has adopted a cognitive view on stigma spillover and shown that as long as two firms are similar enough, an innocent firm will suffer from the spillover from the perpetrator firm. Relatively few studies have examined how stakeholders’ emotions elicited by firms before and after a negative event might impact the process. This oversight is surprising because sudden adverse events attract public attention and can be highly emotional. Moreover, managing an emotion-driven stigma spillover caused by a negative event requires very different strategies from that have been documented in the literature, namely, strategies that focus on how firms cope with an established stigmatized identity. This research examines the role of moral emotions in industrial stigma spillover. Moral emotions are people’s feelings of what is right and wrong. I employ a mixed-method research design that relies on a qualitative case study of the Chinese infant formula industry and quantitative tests of hypotheses gleaned from the case using archival and experimental data. The study contributes to the stigma-spillover literature by offering an empirical account of how changes in stakeholders’ moral emotions give rise to an industrial stigma spillover in a previously respected industry. The study also speaks to how such a stigma spillover can be managed and the effectiveness of various strategies. The main research implication is that a cognitive view of stigma spillover is incomplete, as moral emotions change the degree of contamination. The main implication for practice is that more proactive strategies should be used for managing stigma spillover driven by stakeholders’ moral emotions.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2021
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.