Critical Criminology

, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 1–28 | Cite as

Cognitive Dissonance Resolution Strategies After Exposure to Corporate Violence Scenarios



This study uses cognitive dissonance as a theoretical avenue to identify factors that might hinder the public’s acceptance of incontrovertible facts about corporate violence (i.e., the calculated endangerment of civilians, workers, and customers). Three hundred and twenty-seven participants answered a survey that measured their (1) support for capitalism, (2) level of nationalism, (3) socio-demographic characteristics, and (3) attitudes toward three scenarios describing corporate violence cases. These attitudes comprised participants’ (a) acceptance of the scenarios as true, (b) perceived seriousness of the cases presented to them, and (c) support for several statements made to justify the companies’ actions. Results of statistical analyses suggest that subjects who scored higher on the nationalism and pro-capitalism scales were less likely to rate the cases as serious, and more inclined to rationalize the corporations’ actions. These findings imply that myth adherence might lead business supporters and nationalists to reject inconvenient truths relative to crimes of the powerful, which would then undermine the effect of increased awareness on prosecutorial efforts against corporate crime in the U.S.



The author would like to thank Dr. Kathleen Heide for helping him with the data collection procedure and for her invaluable feedback.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The author declares that he has no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Criminology and Criminal JusticeUniversity of TampaTampaUSA

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