Advertisement

Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 142, Issue 3, pp 515–526 | Cite as

Consumers’ Responses to Corporate Social Responsibility Initiatives: The Mediating Role of Consumer–Company Identification

  • Xinming DengEmail author
  • Yang Xu
Article

Abstract

In order to explore the mechanism of consumer responses to corporate social responsibility (CSR), this paper constructs a research framework including CSR, consumer–company identification (CCI), consumer responses, and fit, and tests the framework using a scene-questionnaire survey. Empirical results demonstrate that CSR not only has positive influence on consumer purchase intention, recommend intention, and loyalty directly, but also has indirect positive influence on consumer purchase intention and recommend intention through CCI. The influencing process of CSR on CCI is moderated by fit and the moderating direction is different owing to product types. For the products whose association preference is positive, fit can positively moderate the relationship between CSR and CCI, while for products whose association preference is negative, the moderating role will be negative.

Keywords

Corporate social responsibility Consumer–company identification Consumer responses Fit 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This research was supported by the Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) (Projects No. 71272232 and 70902053).

References

  1. Aaker, D. A. (1991). Managing brand equity: Capitalizing on the value of a brand name. New York: The Free Press.Google Scholar
  2. Aaker, D. A., & Keller, K. L. (1990). Consumer evaluations of brand extension. Journal of Marketing, 54(1), 27–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Ahearne, M., Bhattacharya, C. B., & Gruen, T. (2005). Antecedents and consequences of customer–company identification: Expanding the role of relationship marketing. Journal of Applied Psychology, 90(3), 574–585.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Alsop, R. (2002). Perils of corporate philanthropy. Wall Street Journal, 1–2.Google Scholar
  5. Anderson, E. W., Fornell, C. F., & Mazvancheryl, S. K. (2004). Customer satisfaction and shareholder value. Journal of Marketing, 68(4), 172–185.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Ashforth, B. E., & Mael, F. (1989). Social identity theory and the organization. Academy of Management Review, 14(1), 20–39.Google Scholar
  7. Balmer, J. M. T. (2001). Corporate identity, corporate branding and corporate marketing: Seeing through the fog. European Journal of Marketing, 35(3/4), 248–291.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Barone, M. J., Miyazaki, A. D., & Taylor, K. A. (2000). The influence of cause-related marketing on consumer choice: Does one good turn deserve another? Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 28(2), 248–262.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bettencourt, L. A. (1997). Customer voluntary performance: Customers as partners in service delivery. Journal of Retailing, 73(3), 383–406.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bhattacharya, C. B., & Sen, S. (2003). Consumer–company identification: A framework for understanding consumers’ relationships with companies. Journal of Marketing, 67(2), 76–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bigné, E., Currás-Pérez, R., & Aldás-Manzano, J. (2012). Dual nature of cause-brand fit: Influence on corporate social responsibility perception. European Journal of Marketing, 45(3/4), 575–594.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Boulstridge, E., & Carrigan, M. (2000). Do consumers really care about corporate responsibility? Highlighting the attitude behavior gap. Journal of Communication Management, 4(4), 355–368.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Bray, J., Johns, N., & David, K. (2011). An exploratory study into the factors impeding ethical consumption. Journal of Business Ethics, 98, 597–608.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Brown, T. J., & Dacin, P. A. (1997). The company and the product: Corporate associations and consumer product responses. Journal of Marketing, 61(1), 68–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Carroll, B. A., & Ahuvia, A. C. (2006). Some antecedents and outcomes of brand love. Marketing Letters, 17(2), 79–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Creyer, E. H., & Ross, W. T. (1996). The impact of corporate behavior on perceived product value. Marketing Letters, 7(2), 173–185.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Currás-Pérez, R., Bigné-Alcaňiz, E., & Alvarado-Herrera, A. (2009). The role of self-definitional principles in consumer identification with a socially responsible company. Journal of Business Ethics, 89(4), 547–564.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Deng, X. M. (2012). Understanding consumer’s responses to firm’s ethical behaviors: Evidence from China. Journal of Business Ethics, 107(2), 159–181.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Du, S., Bhattacharya, C. B., & Sen, S. (2007). Reaping relational rewards from corporate social responsibility: The role of competitive positioning. International Journal of Researching Marketing, 24(3), 224–241.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Dutton, J. E., Dukeric, J. M., & Harquail, C. V. (1994). Organizational images and member identification. Administrative Science Quarterly, 39(34), 239–263.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Ellen, P. S., Webb, D. J., & Mohr, L. A. (2006). Building corporate associations: Consumer attributions for corporate socially responsible programs. Academy of Marketing Science, 34(2), 147–157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Forehand, M. R., & Grier, S. (2003). When honesty is the best policy? The effect of stated company intent on consumer skepticism. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 13, 349–356.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Fornell, C., & Larcker, D. (1981). Evaluating structural equation models with unobservable variables and measurement error. Journal of Marketing Research, 48(3), 39–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hair, J., Black, W., Babin, B., Anderson, R., & Tatham, R. (2006). Multivariate data analysis (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  25. Herbst, K. C., Hannah, S., & Allan, D. (2013). Advertisement disclaimer speed and corporate social responsibility: “Costs” to consumer comprehension and effects on brand trust and purchase intention. Journal of Business Ethics, 117(2), 297–311.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Herpen, E. V., Pennings, J. M. E., & Meulenberg, M. (2003). Consumers, evaluations of socially responsible activities in retailing. Mansholt Working Paper, MWP-04(6).Google Scholar
  27. Hoek, J., & Gendall, P. (2008). An analysis of consumers’ responses to cause related marketing. Journal of Nonprofit & Public Sector Marketing, 20(2), 283–297.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Jin, L. Y. (2006). The effects of consumers’ company identification on their evaluation of products and behavioral responses. Nankai Business Review, 9(3), 16–21.Google Scholar
  29. Kamins, M. A., & Gupta, K. (1994). Congruence between spokesperson and product type: A matchup hypothesis perspective. Psychology & Marketing, 11(6), 569–586.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Keller, K. K. (1993). Conceptualizing, measuring, and managing customer-based brand equity. Journal of Marketing, 57(1), 1–22.Google Scholar
  31. Krishnan, H. S. (1996). Characteristics of memory associations: A consumer-based brand equity perspective. International Journal of Research in Marketing, 13(4), 389–405.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Lafferty, B. A. (2007). The relevance of fit in a cause-brand alliance when consumers evaluate corporate credibility. Journal of Business Research, 60(5), 447–453.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Lafferty, B. A. (2009). Selecting the right cause partners for the right reasons: The role of importance and fit in cause-brand alliances. Psychology & Marketing, 26(4), 359–382.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Lichtenstein, D. R., Drumwright, M. E., & Braig, B. M. (2004). The effect of corporate social responsibility on customer donations to corporate-supported nonprofits. Journal of Marketing, 68(4), 16–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Lii, Yuan.-Shuh., & Lee, M. (2012). Doing right leads to doing well: When the type of CSR and reputation interact to affect consumer evaluations of the firm. Journal of Business Ethics, 105(1), 69–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Mael, F., & Ashforth, B. E. (1992). Alumni and their alma mater: A partial test of the reformulated model of organizational identification. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 13(2), 103–123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Marin, L., Ruiz, S., & Rubio, A. (2009). The role of identity salience in the effects of corporate social responsibility on consumer behavior. Journal of Business Ethics, 84(1), 65–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Menon, S., & Kahn, B. E. (2003). Corporate sponsorships of philanthropic activities: When do they impact perception of sponsor brand? Journal of Consumer Psychology, 13(3), 16–327.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Mohr, L. A., & Webb, D. J. (2005). The effect of corporate social responsibility and price on consumer responses. Journal of Consumer Affairs, 39, 121–147.Google Scholar
  40. Nan, X. L., & Heo, K. (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
  41. Netemeyer, R. G., Krishnan, B., Pullig, C., et al. (2004). Developing and validating measures of facets of customer-based brand equity. Journal of Business Research, 57(2), 209–224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Oberseder, M., Schlegelmilch, B. B., Murphy, P. E., & Gruber, V. (2014). Consumers’ perceptions of corporate social responsibility: Scale development and validation. Journal of Business Ethics, 124(1), 101–115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Peloza, J., & Shang, J. (2011). How can corporate social responsibility activities create value for stakeholders? A systematic review. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 39(1), 117–135.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Peterson, D. K. (2004). The relationship between perceptions of corporate citizenship and organizational commitment. Business and Society, 43(3), 296–319.Google Scholar
  45. Quester, P., & Farrelly, F. (1998). Brand association and memory decay effects of sponsorship: The case of the Australian Formula One Grand Prix. Journal of Product & Brand Management, 7(6), 539–556.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Romani, S., Grappi, S., & Bagozzi, R. P. (2013). Explaining consumer reactions to corporate social responsibility: The role of gratitude and altruistic values. Journal of Business Ethics, 114(2), 193–206.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Salmones, M., Crespo, A., & Bosque, I. (2005). Influence of corporate social responsibility on loyalty and valuation of service. Journal of Business Ethics, 61, 369–385.Google Scholar
  48. Sen, S., & Bhattacharya, C. B. (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
  49. Sobel, M. E. (1982). Asymptotic confidence intervals for indirect effects in structural equation models. In S. Leinhardt (Ed.), Sociological methodology 1982 (pp. 290–312). Washington, DC: American Sociological Association.Google Scholar
  50. Sobel, M. E. (1988). ‘Direct and indirect effects in linear structural equation models. In J. S. Long (Ed.), Common problems/proper solutions (pp. 46–64). Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  51. Smith, S. (2001). Profiting from the customer experience economy. The Forum Corporation.Google Scholar
  52. Varadarajan, P. R., & Menon, A. (1988). Cause related marketing: A co-alignment of marketing strategy and corporate philanthropy. Journal of Marketing, 52(7), 58–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Webb, D. J., & Mohr, L. A. (1998). A typology of consumer responses to cause related marketing: From skeptics to socially concerned. Public Policy Mark, 17(2), 226–238.Google Scholar
  54. Wen, Z. L., Chang, L., Hau, K.-T., & Liu, H. Y. (2004). Testing and application of the mediating effects. Acta Psychological Sinica, 36(5), 614–620.Google Scholar
  55. Wu, W. Y., & Tsai, C. H. (2007). The empirical study of CRM consumer–company identification and purchase intention in the direct selling industry. International Journal of Commerce & Management, 17(3), 194–210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Xie, P. H., & Zhou, Z. C. (2009). Empirical study on the relationship between corporate Social responsibility and consumer purchase intention in China. Nankai Business Review, 12(1), 71–83.Google Scholar
  57. Yoon, Y., Gürhan-Canli, Z., & Schwarz, N. (2006). The effect of corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities on companies with bad reputations. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 16(4), 377–390.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Zeithaml, V. A., Berry, L., & Parasuraman, A. (1996). The behavioral consequence of service quality. Journal of Marketing, 60(2), 31–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Economics and ManagementWuhan UniversityWuhanPeople’s Republic of China

Personalised recommendations