Longitudinal Effects of Corporate Social Responsibility on Customer Relationships
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- Lacey, R. & Kennett-Hensel, P.A. J Bus Ethics (2010) 97: 581. doi:10.1007/s10551-010-0526-x
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Despite the emergence of corporate social responsibility, the impact of CSR efforts on customer relationships remains decidedly unclear. Moreover, previous studies have examined CSR in cross-sectional, experimental, and/or artificial settings. Through field survey data collected at both the beginning (n = 750) and conclusion (n = 469) of the 2007–2008 NBA season, the authors investigate linkages between customers’ perceptions of the CSR performance of an NBA team and the strength of their relationship with this same organization. With all respondents of the latter survey participating in both samples, the authors assess how CSR performance impacts customer relationships over time. The findings show how a firm that engages in CSR initiatives may reap rewards by building trusting and committed customer relationships which, in turn, help forge desirable customer behaviors. The results also demonstrate how CSR’s influence strengthens over the course of the tested business cycle, thus yielding revealing insights to academics and practitioners when it comes to understanding the real-world impact of CSR performance for strengthening customer relationships.