Management Papers

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version

2-1-2018

Publication Source

American Sociological Review

Volume

83

Issue

1

Start Page

61

Last Page

87

DOI

10.1177/0003122417747289

Abstract

This article explores the mechanisms by which corporate prestige produces distorted legal outcomes. Drawing on social psychological theories of status, we suggest that prestige influences audience evaluations by shaping expectations, and that its effect will differ depending on whether a firm’s blameworthiness has been firmly established. We empirically analyze a unique database of more than 500 employment discrimination suits brought between 1998 and 2008. We find that prestige is associated with a decreased likelihood of being found liable (suggesting a halo effect in assessments of blameworthiness), but with more severe punishments among organizations that are found liable (suggesting a halo tax in administrations of punishment). Our analysis allows us to reconcile two ostensibly contradictory bodies of work on how organizational prestige affects audience evaluations by showing that prestige can be both a benefit and a liability, depending on whether an organization’s blameworthiness has been firmly established.

Copyright/Permission Statement

Mary-Hunter McDonnell & Brayden G. King (2018), "Order in the Court: How Firm Status and Reputation Shape the Outcomes of Emplyment Discrimination Suits", 83(1), pp. 61-87. Copyright © 2018 SAGE. Reprinted by permission of SAGE Publications.

Keywords

status, reputation, deviance, employment discrimination, lawsuits, punishment

Embargo Date

12-21-2018

Available for download on Friday, December 21, 2018

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Date Posted: 19 February 2018

This document has been peer reviewed.