Employee Misbehavior: the Effect of Employee Typicality on Brand Evaluations

Jakob Utgard, BI Norwegian Business School, Norway
Tarje Gaustad, Oslo School of Management, Norway
Despite companies’ investments in recruiting, training, and monitoring, employees sometimes misbehave in ways that hurt the brand. Such misbehavior can spread quickly and potentially turn into media scandals. In two studies, we find that employee misbehavior is more negative for the brand when the employee is seen as a typical (vs. atypical) exemplar of the company’s employees. We theorize that the behavior of a typical employee is seen as a signal of other employees and the company as a whole, whereas behavior of an atypical employee is seen as less diagnostic of the company. Thus, wrongdoing by a typical employee is likely to promote more negative inferences about the brand.
[ to cite ]:
Jakob Utgard and Tarje Gaustad (2013) ,"Employee Misbehavior: the Effect of Employee Typicality on Brand Evaluations", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 41, eds. Simona Botti and Aparna Labroo, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research.