The Debate Regarding the Better Business Bureau’s Commitment to Neutrality: An Analysis of Local Better Business Bureau Boards of Directors
AbstractThe Better Business Bureau (BBB) states that it is a neutral party striving to serve equally the interests of both businesses and consumers. However, critics have alleged that the BBB’s policies and practices are biased in favor of businesses. This study analyzes the composition of the boards of directors of local BBB offices. Using resource-dependency theory, arguments are advanced to explain why the BBB may be more inclined to have board members from business backgrounds rather than board members who are “community influentials” (e.g., executives with nonprofit organizations and charities, academicians, and government employees). Results show that the vast majority of BBB board members are businesspeople from industries that generate large numbers of BBB consumer complaints. Discussion focuses on the implications of these findings for the credibility and legitimacy of the BBB as a representative of consumer interests in the marketplace.