Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 70, Issue 2, pp 125–140 | Cite as

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

  • Julie PirschEmail author
  • Shruti Gupta
  • Stacy Landreth Grau


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.


Corporate social responsibility cause-related marketing customer loyalty satisfaction stakeholder theory skepticism 


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The authors would like to thank MSI International, a full service marketing intelligence firm based near Philadelphia for the generous contribution of their survey programming and internet survey panel for data collection for this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julie Pirsch
    • 1
    Email author
  • Shruti Gupta
    • 2
  • Stacy Landreth Grau
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of MarketingVillanova UniversityVillanovaUSA
  2. 2.The Pennsylvania State UniversityAbingtonUSA
  3. 3.Texas Christian UniversityFt. WorthUSA

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