Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 154, Issue 4, pp 1143–1159 | Cite as

The Process Model of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Communication: CSR Communication and its Relationship with Consumers’ CSR Knowledge, Trust, and Corporate Reputation Perception

  • Sora KimEmail author
Original Paper


Using a national survey of US consumers, this study demonstrates the positive effects of corporate social responsibility (CSR) communication factors on consumers’ CSR knowledge, trust, and perceptions of corporate reputation. The study also examines the role of a stakeholder-specific factor of consumer–company identification in the process of CSR communication. The findings suggest that the positive effects of CSR informativeness are enduring and independent of consumers’ identification levels with a company, whereas the positive consequences of the personal relevance, transparency, and factual tone of CSR communication intensify as the identification levels increase. Although CSR communication in which a self-promotional tone is adopted has a negative relationship with consumer trust and corporate reputation, such negative effects are not evident among consumers with very high identification levels with a company. Such CSR communication in fact improves consumers’ CSR knowledge and, in turn, has a positive effect on corporate reputation.


Corporate social responsibility communication Process model Moderated mediation Consumer knowledge of CSR Consumer trust Engagement Corporate reputation Process 



This work was supported by a Page Legacy Scholar Grant from the Arthur W. Page Center at the Penn State College of Communications under Page Legacy Scholar Grant. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Pennsylvania State University [N.1303CSR].

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

Author(s) declares that he/she has no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Journalism and CommunicationThe Chinese University of Hong KongShatinHong Kong

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