Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 102, Issue 4, pp 639–652 | Cite as

Perceived Organizational Motives and Consumer Responses to Proactive and Reactive CSR

  • Mark D. Groza
  • Mya R. Pronschinske
  • Matthew Walker
Article

Abstract

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has emerged as an effective way for firms to create favorable attitudes among consumers. Although prior research has addressed the direct influence of proactive and reactive CSR on consumer responses, this research hypothesized that consumers’ perceived organizational motives (i.e., attributions) will mediate this relationship. It was also hypothesized that the source of information and location of CSR initiative will affect the motives consumers assign to a firms’ engagement in the initiative. Two experiments were conducted to test these hypotheses. The results of Study 1 indicate that the nature of a CSR initiative influences consumer attribution effects and that these attributions act as mediators in helping to explain consumers’ responses to CSR. Study 2 suggests that the source of the CSR message moderates the effect of CSR on consumer attributions. The mediating influence of the attributions as well as the importance of information source suggests that proper communication of CSR can be a viable way to inculcate positive corporate associations and purchase intentions.

Keywords

corporate social responsibility consumer attributions corporate communications CSR strategy information source 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Amaeshi, K. M., O. K. Osuji and P. Nnodim: 2008, ‘Corporate Social Responsibility in Supply Chains of Global Brands: A Boundaryless Responsibility? Clarifications, Exceptions, and Implications’, Journal of Business Ethics 81(August), 223-234.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Artz, N. and A. M. Tybout: 1999, ‘The Moderating Impact of Quantitative Information on the Relationship between Source Credibility and Persuasion: A Persuasion Knowledge Model Interpretation’, Marketing Letters 10(1), 51-63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Baron, R. M. and D. A. Kenny: 1986, ‘Moderator-Mediator Variables Distinction in Social Psychological Research: Conceptual, Strategic and Statistical Considerations’, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 51(6), 1173-1182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Becker-Olsen, K. L., B. A. Cudmore and R. P. Hill: 2006, ‘The Impact of Perceived Corporate Social Responsibility on Consumer Behavior’, Journal of Business Research 59(1), 46-53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bhattacharya, C. B. and S. Sen: 2004, ‘Doing Better at Doing Good’, California Management Review 4(1), 9-24.Google Scholar
  6. Bonifield, C. and C. Cole: 2007, ‘Affective Response to Service Failure: Anger, Regret, and Retaliatory Versus Conciliatory Responses’, Marketing Letters 18(1-2), 85-99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brown, T. J. and P. A. Dacin: 1997, ‘The Company and the Product: Corporate Associations and Consumer Product Responses’, Journal of Marketing 61(1), 68-84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chaiken, S.: 1980, ‘Heuristic versus Systematic Information Processing and the Use of Source versus Message Cues in Persuasion’, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 39(5), 752-766.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Du, S., C. B. Bhattacharya and S. Sen: 2007, ‘Reaping Relational Rewards from Corporate Social Responsibility: The Role of Competitive Positioning’, International Journal of Research in Marketing 24(3), 224-241.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Ellen, P. S., D. J. Webb and L. A. Mohr: 2006, ‘Building Corporate Associations: Consumer Attributions for Corporate Socially Responsible Programs’, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science 34(2), 147-157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Friestad, M. and P. Wright: 1994, ‘The Persuasion Knowledge Model: How People Cope With Persuasion Attempts’, Journal of Consumer Research 21(June), 1-29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Gilbert, D. T. and P. S. Malone: 1995, ‘The Correspondence Bias’, Psychological Bulletin 117(1), 21-38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Grau, S. L. and J. A. G. Folse: 2007, ‘Cause-Related Marketing (CRM): The Influence of Donation Proximity and Message-Framing Cues on the Less-Involved Consumer’, Journal of Advertising 36(4), 19-33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Grewal, D., J. Gotlieb and H. Marmorstein: 1994, ‘The Moderating Effects of Message Framing and Source Credibility on the Price-Perceived Risk Relationship’, Journal of Consumer Research 21(1), 145-153.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Harmon, R. R. and K. A. Coney: 1982, ‘The Persuasive Effects of Source Credibility in Buy And Lease Situations’, Journal of Marketing Research 19(2), 255-260.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Jones, E. E. and K. E. Davis: 1965, ‘From Acts to Dispositions: The Attribution Process in Person Perception’, in B. Leonard (ed.), Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, Vol. 2. (Academic Press, New York).Google Scholar
  17. Kelley, H. H.: 1972, Causal Schemata and the Attribution Process. (General Learning Press, New York).Google Scholar
  18. Klein, J. and N. Dawar: 2004, ‘Corporate Social Responsibility and Consumers’ Attributions and Brand Evaluations in A Product-Harm Crisis’, International Journal of Research in Marketing 21(3), 203-217.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Lafferty, B. A. and R. E. Goldsmith: 1999, ‘Corporate Credibility’s Role in Consumers’ Attitudes and Purchase Intentions When a High Versus a Low Credibility Endorser Is Used in the Ad’, Journal of Business Research 44(February), 109-116.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Lee, H., T. Park, H. K. Moon, Y. Yang and C. Kim: 2009, ‘Corporate Philanthropy, Attitude towards Corporations, and Purchase Intentions: A South Korea Study’, Journal of Business Research 62(October), 939-946.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Luo, X. and C. B. Bhattacharya: 2009, ‘The Debate over Doing Good: Corporate Social Performance, Strategic Marketing Levers, and Firm-Idiosyncratic Risk’, Journal of Marketing 73(6), 1-32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Morsing, M. and M. Schultz: 2006, ‘Corporate Social Responsibility Communication: Stakeholder Information, Response and Involvement Strategies’, Business Ethics: A European Review 15(4), 323-338.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Murray, K. B. and C. M. Vogel: 1997, ‘Using a Hierarchy-Of-Effects Approach to Gauge the Effectiveness of Corporate Social Responsibility to Generate Goodwill toward the Firm: Financial versus Nonfinancial Impacts’, Journal of Business Research 38(2), 141-159.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Nan, X. and K. Heo: 2007, ‘Consumer Responses to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Initiatives: Examining the Role of Brand-Cause Fit in Cause-Related Marketing’, Journal of Advertising 36(2), 63-74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Nielsen Online, 2009, January 27: ‘Web Traffic to Top 10 Online Newspapers Grows 16 Percent in December’, from nielsenwire.com weblog: http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/consumer/web-traffic-to-top-10-online-newspapers-grows-16-percent-in-december/. Retrieved March 19, 2010.
  26. Petty, R. E. and J. T. Cacioppo: 1979, ‘Issue Involvement Can Increase or Decrease Persuasion by Enhancing Message-Relevant Cognitive Responses’, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 37(10), 1915-1926.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Ricks, J. M. Jr.: 2005, ‘An Assessment of Strategic Corporate Philanthropy on Perceptions of Brand Equity Variables’, Journal of Consumer Marketing 22(3), 121-134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Ross, J. K., L. T. Patterson and M. A. Stutts: 1992, ‘Consumer Perceptions of Organizations That Use Cause-Related Marketing’, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science 20(1), 93-97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Russell, D. W. and C. A. Russell: 2010, ‘Here or There? Consumer Reactions to Corporate Social Responsibility Initiatives: Egocentric Tendencies and Their Moderators’, Marketing Letters 21(1), 65-81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Sawyer, A. G.: 1975, ‘Demand Artifacts in Laboratory Experiments in Consumer Research’, Journal of Consumer Research 4(3), 156-164.Google Scholar
  31. Sen, S. and C. B. Bhattacharya: 2001, ‘Does Doing Good Always Lead to Doing Better? Consumer Reactions to Corporate Social Responsibility’, Journal of Marketing Research 38(2), 225-243.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Sen, S., C. B. Bhattacharya and D. Korschun: 2006, ‘The Role of Corporate Social Responsibility in Strengthening Multiple Stakeholder Relationships: A Field Experiment’, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science 34(2), 158-166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Simmons, C. J. and K. L. Becker-Olsen: 2006, ‘Achieving Marketing Objectives through Social Sponsorships’, Journal of Marketing 70(4), 154-169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Sobel, M. E.: 1982, ‘Asymptotic Confidence Intervals for Indirect Effects in Structural Equation Models’, in S. Leinhardt (ed.), Sociological Methodology 1982 (American Sociological Association, Washington DC), pp. 290-312.Google Scholar
  35. Vanhamme, J. and B. Grobben: 2009, ‘Too Good To Be True! The Effectiveness of CSR History in Countering Negative Publicity’, Journal of Business Ethics 85(April), 273-283.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Varadarajan, P. R. and A. Menon: 1988, ‘Cause-Related Marketing: A Coalignment of Marketing Strategy and Corporate Philanthropy’, Journal of Marketing 52(3), 58-74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Vlachos, P. A., A. Tsamakos, A. P. Vrechopoulos and P. K. Avramidis: 2009, ‘Corporate Social Responsibility: Attributions, Loyalty, and the Mediating Role of Trust’, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science 37(2), 170-180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Vogel, D.: 2005, ‘The Market for Virtue: The Potential and Limits of Corporate Social Responsibility. (Brookings Institution Press, Washington, DC).Google Scholar
  39. Wagner, T., R. J. Lutz and B. A. Weitz: 2009, ‘Corporate Hypocrisy: Overcoming the Threat of Inconsistent Corporate Social Responsibility Perceptions’, Journal of Marketing 73(6), 77-91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Walker, M., B. Heere, M. M. Parent and D. Drane: 2010, ‘Social Responsibility and the Olympic Games: The Mediating Role of Consumer Attributions’, Journal of Business Ethics 95(4), 659-680.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Weiner, J. L., R. W. LaForge and J. R. Goolsby: 1990, ‘Personal Communication in Marketing: An Examination of Self-Interest Contingency Relationships’, Journal of Marketing Research 27(May), 227-231.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Yoon, Y., Z. Gürhan-Canli and N. Schwarz: 2006, ‘The Effect of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Activities on Companies With Bad Reputations’, Journal of Consumer Psychology 16(4), 377-390.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark D. Groza
    • 1
  • Mya R. Pronschinske
    • 2
  • Matthew Walker
    • 3
  1. 1.Isenberg School of ManagementUniversity of MassachusettsAmherstU.S.A.
  2. 2.Department of Management and MarketingUniversity of WyomingLaramieU.S.A.
  3. 3.Department of Sport ManagementUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleU.S.A.

Personalised recommendations