, Volume 70, Issue 2, pp 125-140
Date: 28 Oct 2006

A Framework for Understanding Corporate Social Responsibility Programs as a Continuum: An Exploratory Study

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Abstract

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs are increasingly popular corporate marketing strategies. This paper argues that CSR programs can fall along a continuum between two endpoints: Institutionalized programs and Promotional programs. This classification is based on an exploratory study examining the variance of four responses from the consumer stakeholder group toward these two categories of CSR. Institutionalized CSR programs are argued to be most effective at increasing customer loyalty, enhancing attitude toward the company, and decreasing consumer skepticism. Promotional CSR programs are argued to be more effective at generating purchase intent. Ethical and managerial implications of these preliminary findings are discussed.

Julie Pirsch, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Marketing at Villanova University. She researches in the areas of cause-related marketing, corporate social responsibility, and new product development.
Shruti Gupta, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Management at The Pennsylvania State University at Abington, in Abington, Pennsylvania. Dr. Gupta’s research interests lie in the area of corporate social responsibility, cause-related marketing, environmental consumerism, and social marketing issues.
Stacy Landreth, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Marketing at the University of North Texas. She researches in the areas of cause-related marketing and social marketing alliances, as well as advertising source effects.