The Oprah Effect: Consumers’ Responses to Lucky Vs. Unlucky Leaders When Judging Corporate Crime

Morgan Ward, University of Texas, Austin
Julie Irwin, University of Texas, Austin
After being found guilty of a corporate crime, companies often release information about the CEO indicating that the he has suffered a personal misfortune to garner sympathy, and mitigate consumers’ feelings of dislike. We investigate how consumers use information about the CEO of the company to make purchase decisions. We find that people are more likely to purchase if it is evident that the CEO has suffered some personal misfortune (vs. Control CEO) when the crime is small. However when the crime is egregious, they punish Unlucky CEOs more severely than those who have not suffered a personal misfortune.
[ to cite ]:
Morgan Ward and Julie Irwin (2008) ,"The Oprah Effect: Consumers’ Responses to Lucky Vs. Unlucky Leaders When Judging Corporate Crime", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 35, eds. Angela Y. Lee and Dilip Soman, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research.