Do the Media Portrayal of a Brand's Sweatshop Exploitation Affect Consumers' Causal Attribution: Kelley's Attribution Theory-based Account.
News coverage of unfair business practices such as sweatshop exploitation may portray a brand as a wrongful beneficence of the resources of developing countries. Once individuals are exposed to news of a brand's exploitation of sweatshops, their cognitive processing of blame assignment may go through causal attributional reasoning. Kelley's causal attribution (1967) literature identifies three dimensions of information, which are distinctiveness, consensus, and consistency. The consistency dimension, which is the encapsulation of the degree to which communicators are found to be stable and consistent in blaming the same brand across time and situations (Kelly, 1967, Laczniak et al., 2001), is related to the communicator, which is print and electronic media in this study context. On the other hand, the content of news in terms of encapsulation of the extent of experts' agreement (high or low consensus) and the degree to which a communicator associates the negative information with a brand (high or low distinctiveness) may lead receivers to go through the process of blame attribution and negative attitude formation towards the brand.