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Online firestorms: an act of civic engagement or a narcissistic boost? The role of brand misconduct appraisals

Online firestorms: an act of civic engagement or a narcissistic boost? The role of brand... This study aims to examine personal factors that drive the initiation of an online firestorm, an online collaborative attack against a brand that usually occurs when a brand fails or engages in misconduct.Design/methodology/approachA structured questionnaire is used for data collection. Via an online panel, 303 questionnaires are completed. Hypotheses are tested using structural equation modelling.FindingsCivic engagement and, to a lesser extent, narcissism explain intentions to initiate online firestorms. Individuals’ inherent concern for others and for ethical issues prompts them to punish a brand publicly, with the expectation that other individuals will follow and that the brand will feel compelled to react. Misconduct-related appraisal factors, such as severity, proximity, moral inequity and outrage, can amplify the effect of civic engagement.Research limitations/implicationsFuture research should investigate whether the findings hold for different types of misconduct, cultures and other forms of narcissism.Practical implicationsBy providing managers with a better understanding of the motivations for launching an attack, this study offers guidance on managing a brand when an online firestorm occurs.Originality/valueWhereas previous research has focused on external drivers of online firestorms, this study builds on the prosocial behaviour literature to analyse the individual characteristics prompting the initiation of an online firestorm. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Product & Brand Management Emerald Publishing

Online firestorms: an act of civic engagement or a narcissistic boost? The role of brand misconduct appraisals

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References (117)

Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
1061-0421
eISSN
1061-0421
DOI
10.1108/jpbm-08-2021-3627
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This study aims to examine personal factors that drive the initiation of an online firestorm, an online collaborative attack against a brand that usually occurs when a brand fails or engages in misconduct.Design/methodology/approachA structured questionnaire is used for data collection. Via an online panel, 303 questionnaires are completed. Hypotheses are tested using structural equation modelling.FindingsCivic engagement and, to a lesser extent, narcissism explain intentions to initiate online firestorms. Individuals’ inherent concern for others and for ethical issues prompts them to punish a brand publicly, with the expectation that other individuals will follow and that the brand will feel compelled to react. Misconduct-related appraisal factors, such as severity, proximity, moral inequity and outrage, can amplify the effect of civic engagement.Research limitations/implicationsFuture research should investigate whether the findings hold for different types of misconduct, cultures and other forms of narcissism.Practical implicationsBy providing managers with a better understanding of the motivations for launching an attack, this study offers guidance on managing a brand when an online firestorm occurs.Originality/valueWhereas previous research has focused on external drivers of online firestorms, this study builds on the prosocial behaviour literature to analyse the individual characteristics prompting the initiation of an online firestorm.

Journal

Journal of Product & Brand ManagementEmerald Publishing

Published: Jan 31, 2023

Keywords: Online firestorm; Brand attack; Prosocial behaviour; Civic engagement; Narcissism; Brand misconduct; Severity; Proximity; Outrage; Moral inequity; Closeness; Brand misconduct appraisals; Twitterstorm

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