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Public Relations Review

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The purpose of this study was to examine how individuals’ skepticism and cynicism about an environmental corporate social responsibility (CSR) activity influence their positive and negative communication behaviors toward a corporation (megaphoning effects). The findings demonstrated the important mediating role of situational motivation in problem solving on a given environmental issue between skepticism/cynicism and megaphoning effects. Using a nationwide survey of 504 participants living in the United States, this study found that skepticism and cynicism increased the negative megaphoning effect and decreased positive megaphoning behaviors. Furthermore, skepticism/cynicism and megaphoning behaviors were partially mediated by situational motivation in problem solving. In particular, skeptics who were motivated to solve an environmental issue were less likely to take and forward negative information about a corporation in an environmental CSR activity. This study provides new theoretical and practical insights into CSR strategies that address skepticism and cynicism in publics and their resulting communicative behaviors.


Accepted version. Public Relations Review, Vol. 47, No. 4 (November 2021): 102082. DOI. © 2021 Elsevier. Used with permission.

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