This research examines how two dimensions of moral intensity involved in a corporation's external crisis response — magnitude of effectiveness and interpersonal proximity — influence observer perceptions of and behavioral intentions toward the corporation. Across three studies, effectiveness decreased negative perceptions and increased pro-organizational intentions via ethical judgment of the response. Moreover, the two dimensions interacted such that a response high in proximity but low in effectiveness led to more negative perceptions and to less pro-organizational intentions. This interaction was particularly pronounced if the corporation portrayed itself as communal-oriented. The interaction was mediated by individuals' ethical judgment, which was a function of the corporation's perceived benevolent concern. We termed the interaction the Strategic Samaritan, for it was when the corporation tried to appear like a Good Samaritan, displaying proximity with victims but not accompanying it with effective help, that it was seen as acting with less benevolent concern.

J. Jordan, D. Diermeier, and Adam Galinsky
Journal Article
Publication Date
Business Ethics Quarterly

Full Citation

Jordan, J., D. Diermeier, and Adam Galinsky
. “The Strategic Samaritan: How effectiveness and proximity affect corporate responses to external crises.”
Business Ethics Quarterly
, (January 01, 2012):