Vicarious Shame and Psychological Distancing Following Organizational Misbehavior

Motivation and Emotion, October 2015, Vol. 39, Issue 5, pp 795-812

Posted: 3 Oct 2015

See all articles by Shu-Cheng Chi

Shu-Cheng Chi

National Taiwan University - Department of Business Administration

Ray Friedman

Vanderbilt University - Organizational Behavior

Hsin-Hsin Lo

Chien Hsin University, College of Management

Date Written: March 1, 2015

Abstract

When organizations are engaging in publicly visible misbehavior, organizational members’ emotional responses may affect the organization’s ability to react effectively. If members respond with shame, they have a high tendency to distance themselves from the organization, a phenomenon termed cutting off reflected failure. Further, for those who identify more closely with the organization at the time of the misbehavior, this effect is stronger. We report two studies that tested the above predictions — a field study of a real industry-wide crisis in Taiwan’s fast-food industry and a university accounting scandal. We found that shame responses enhanced intentions to distance from the organization, and that organizational identification boosted the shame response.

Keywords: Vicarious shame, Organizational identification, Psychological distancing, Cutting off reflected failure, Taiwan

Suggested Citation

Chi, Shu-Cheng and Friedman, Raymond A. and Lo, Hsin-Hsin, Vicarious Shame and Psychological Distancing Following Organizational Misbehavior (March 1, 2015). Motivation and Emotion, October 2015, Vol. 39, Issue 5, pp 795-812, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2668272

Shu-Cheng Chi (Contact Author)

National Taiwan University - Department of Business Administration ( email )

No. 1, Sec. 4, Roosevelt Rd.
Taipei
Taiwan
+886 2 236 3 0231 Ext. 2942 (Phone)
+886 2 236 8 9305 (Fax)

Raymond A. Friedman

Vanderbilt University - Organizational Behavior ( email )

401 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203
United States
615-322-3992 (Phone)
615-343-7177 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://mba.vanderbilt.edu/faculty/rfriedman.cfm

Hsin-Hsin Lo

Chien Hsin University, College of Management ( email )

No. 229, Jianxing Rd
Zhongli City, 32097
Taiwan

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