Originally published: July 24, 2017
Evidence continues to mount that bias is bad for business. The link between consumer loyalty—along with consumer disaffection—and how a corporation treats employees has been an increasingly prominent issue, highlighted by a unique study conducted in 2016 by Dr. Arunima Krishna, Assistant Professor of Public Relations at Boston University, and Dr. Soojin Kim of Singapore Management University. (1)
More recently, Uber's succession of high-profile problems, including allegations of sexual harassment, discriminatory workplace culture, legal disputes, and 200,000 customers deciding to #DeleteUber, culminated in June of this year. (2) (3)
The 2016 study was designed to gauge consumers' reactions to allegations of gender discrimination against companies they patronized. The team surveyed 473 American consumers by asking each to read a mock newspaper article reporting alleged gender discrimination by companies of which they were customers (i.e., Apple, Nestle, Adidas). It was found that consumer trust in, satisfaction with, commitment to, and loyalty to the companies took a significant hit.