Organization Management Journal


Corporate hypocrisy (CH) exists when people believe that firms are not what they claim to be. Much of the previous research has focused on how consumers may perceive firms as hypocritical and how that might affect firms’ sales and profits, but little has been researched on CH as experienced by employees. This study explored CH experienced by employees in the U.S. retail sector, which is predominantly comprised of part-time, low-income personnel. Through in-depth interviews of 16 retail employees, the study revealed that for participants, inconsistencies in both supervisors’ and corporate claims and actions resulted in perceived CH in employees. This, in turn, seemed to be related to participants’ feelings and future employment intentions. The study findings offer important implications for leaders and managers of U.S. retail companies, as they show how employees perceive, feel about, and act in response to CH.