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Transforming scandals into entrepreneurial opportunities: The case of the hospitality industry


  • Cynthia Assaf

    (CERAG - Centre d'études et de recherches appliquées à la gestion - UGA [2016-2019] - Université Grenoble Alpes [2016-2019])

  • Gilles Grolleau

    (CEREN - Centre de Recherche sur l'ENtreprise [Dijon] - BSB - Burgundy School of Business (BSB) - Ecole Supérieure de Commerce de Dijon Bourgogne (ESC))

  • Naoufel Mzoughi

    (ECODEVELOPPEMENT - Ecodéveloppement - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement)


Scandals are frequently considered as detrimental for involved businesses. When hotels serve as a backdrop and are collateral victims of scandals caused by high-profile individuals, we argue that entrepreneurially minded executives can envision scandals as an unexpected opportunity, likely to bring good news to the involved hotels. Tourism businesses offer supportive evidence. In a constructivist perspective, scandals and their consequences do not result from the transgression seriousness, but are socially constructed. Entrepreneurially minded individuals influence this social construction and seek to transform scandals into entrepreneurial opportunities. We analyse whether and how hospitality executives can channel the a priori destructive forces involved in a scandal eruption towards a direction aligned with their own interests. We identify three potential mechanisms by which hospitality executives can make the best of scandals, namely, by increasing exposure and attracting attention at a low cost, offering a basis for differentiation and innovation and generating useful marketing data. We identify some conditions that make this outcome more likely. Rather than just avoiding or containing the scandal consequences, we propose to equip hospitality executives with a scandal management plan that explicitly considers the bright side of scandals.

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  • Cynthia Assaf & Gilles Grolleau & Naoufel Mzoughi, 2023. "Transforming scandals into entrepreneurial opportunities: The case of the hospitality industry," Post-Print hal-04198173, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-04198173
    DOI: 10.1386/hosp_00059_1
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Breitsohl, Jan & Garrod, Brian, 2016. "Assessing tourists' cognitive, emotional and behavioural reactions to an unethical destination incident," Tourism Management, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 209-220.
    2. Peter Earl, 2011. "From anecdotes to novels: Reflective inputs for behavioural economics," New Zealand Economic Papers, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(1-2), pages 5-22.
    3. Septianto, Felix, 2020. "Do past scandals influence the present performance? The moderating role of consumer mindset," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 75-81.
    4. Gilles Grolleau & Alain Marciano & Naoufel Mzoughi, 2020. "The scope for the strategic use of scandals," Post-Print hal-02306906, HAL.
    5. Jansen, Nora & Hinz, Oliver & Deusser, Clemens & Strufe, Thorsten, 2021. "Is the Buzz on? – A Buzz Detection System for Viral Posts in Social Media," Journal of Interactive Marketing, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 1-17.
    6. Gilles Grolleau & Alain Marciano & Naoufel Mzoughi, 2020. "The Strategic Use of Scandals," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 73(4), pages 524-542, November.
    7. Karim Ben Slimane & Belinda Kintu & Karim Ben-Slimane, 2020. "Companies responses to scandal backlash caused by social media influencers," Post-Print hal-02946476, HAL.
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    constructivism; hospitality; hotels; transgression; tourism; entrepreneurs; innovation;
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