Despite the importance of an athlete's image and reputation as an individual brand, the academic literature lacks investigations on whether and how an athlete's brand can be protected when they engage in unethical transgressions. Focusing on athletes’ pro-social activities, the authors presented an experimental study to test how an athlete's pro-social efforts can alleviate negative impacts from his/her transgression. In particular, the authors test the impacts of athletes’ involvement level (high vs. low) with a pro-social cause and level of fit between an athlete and a cause (high vs. low) on sport consumers’ perceptions. Results demonstrate that an athlete's pre-scandal charitable behaviors can mitigate adverse impact of a transgression on consumer response only when the athlete has deeply engaged in charitable behaviors. The results also show that a higher fit between an athlete and a cause can generate more severe damaging impacts on consumer evaluation than a lower fit due to consumer skepticism caused by a combination between a negative reputation and a high-fit cause.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Business and International Management
- Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
- Strategy and Management
- Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
- Management Science and Operations Research