Product-harm crises can negatively affect a firm's corporate image, reputation, and credibility. This research investigates antecedents and factors that can impact the extent to which frontline employees will be supportive of their organization when the firm faces such a crisis. Leveraging social exchange theory and its focus on reciprocal exchanges, we theorize and test processes using regression models, which shed light on how managers can solicit employee support during crises situations by providing the frontline employees with ethical and supportive working conditions. To offer convergent validity across multiple methodologies, we also test the influence of experimental effects of the relative severity of a crisis and whether a firm was quick or slow in its response on frontline employee support. Furthermore, our research demonstrates that the firm's strengths in corporate social responsibility, the employees' organizational citizenship behavior, and employee organizational identification serially mediate the supportive relationship, which provides a unique contribution to the marketing literature. Finally, we provide managerial implications to further enhance frontline employee support.
- Corporate social responsibility
- Frontline employees
- Organizational citizenship behavior
- Product-harm crisis
- Retail implications
- Social exchange theory