Advertisement

The Consumer Response to Corporate Political Advocacy: a Review and Future Directions

  • Chris HydockEmail author
  • Neeru Paharia
  • T. J. Weber
Research Article

Abstract

In recent years, a new trend has emerged: Chick-fil-A and Amazon took opposing positions in the gay marriage debate, companies have openly opposed many of President Trump’s policies and even dropped his daughter’s brand from their stores, Paypal gave an ultimatum to North Carolina over transgender bathroom access, Delta dropped NRA-specific benefits, and Nike signed the polarizing Colin Kaepernick. These actions, which significantly deviate from corporations’ historical forays into sociopolitical issues through lobbying for favorable regulations and corporate social responsibility (CSR), are characterized by participation in divisive political debates on topics which seemingly have no direct link to the bottom line. The public and divisive nature of these corporate acts (referred to as corporate political advocacy (CPA)), coupled with an increasingly politically polarized population, suggests that implied political values on behalf of companies are likely to produce divergent consumer reactions. Specifically, these acts are likely to simultaneously elicit disapproval and boycotts from those that oppose the company’s position, but approval and buycotts from those that support the company’s position. In this paper, we consider findings from existing literature in consumerism, CSR, and political orientation to shed light on our current understanding of the potential consumer response to CPA and to point to several avenues for future research.

Keywords

Corporate political advocacy (CPA) Political orientation Boycott Corporate social responsibility (CSR) Consumerism Socially responsible consumption Identity 

References

  1. 1.
    Ahluwalia R (2002) How prevalent is the negativity effect in consumer environments? Re-inquiries how prevalent is the negativity effect in consumer environments? J Consum Res 29(29):270–279CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Ahluwalia R, Burnkrant RE, Unnava HR (2000) Consumer response to negative publicity: the moderating role of commitment. J Mark Res 37(2):203–214CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Angle JW, Dagogo-Jack SW, Forehand MR, Perkins AW (2017) Activating stereotypes with brand imagery: the role of viewer political identity. J Consum Psychol 27(1):84–90CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Atkinson L (2013) Smart shoppers? Using QR codes and ‘green’ smartphone apps to mobilize sustainable consumption in the retail environment. Int J Consum Stud 37(4):387–393CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Auger P, Burke P, Devinney TM, Louviere JJ (2003) What will consumers pay for social product features? J Bus Ethics 42(3):281-304Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Baron J (1999) Consumer attitudes about personal and political action. J Consum Psychol 8(3):261–275CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Barone MJ, Miyazaki AD, Taylor KA (2000) The influence of cause-related marketing on consumer choice: does one good turn deserve another? J Acad Mark Sci 28(2):248–262CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Bechwati NN, Morrin M (2003) Outraged consumers: getting even at the expense of getting a good deal. J Consum Psychol 13(4):440–453CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Becker-Olsen KL, Cudmore BA, Hill RP (2006) The impact of perceived corporate social responsibility on consumer behavior. J Bus Res 59(1):46–53CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Berger J, Heath C (2007) Where consumers diverge from others: identity signaling and product domains. J Consum Res 34(2):121–134CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Bhattacharjee A, Berman JZ, Reed A (2013) Tip of the hat, wag of the finger: how moral decoupling enables consumers to admire and admonish. J Consum Res 39(6):1167–1184CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Bhattacharjee A, Berger J, Menon G (2014) When identity marketing backfires: consumer agency in identity expression. J Consum Res 41(2):294–309CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Bhattacharya CB, Sen S (2003) Consumer–company identification: a framework for understanding consumers’ relationships with companies. J Mark 67(2):76–88CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Bhattacharya CB, Sen S (2004) Doing better at doing good: when, why, and how consumers respond to corporate social initiatives. Calif Manag Rev 47(1):9–24CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Carrigan M, Attalla A (2001) The myth of the ethical consumer – do ethics matter in purchase behaviour? J Consum Mark 18(7):560–578CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Chang C-T (2008) To donate or not to donate? Product characteristics and framing effects of cause-related marketing on consumer purchase behavior. Psychol Mark 25(12):1089–1110CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Chernev A, Blair S (2015) Doing well by doing good: the benevolent halo of corporate social responsibility. J Consum Res 41(6):1412–1425CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Connors S, Anderson-MacDonald S, Thomson M (2015) Overcoming the ‘window dressing’ effect: mitigating the negative effects of inherent skepticism towards corporate social responsibility. J Bus Ethics 145(3):599–621CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Dahlsrud A (2008) How corporate social responsibility is defined: an analysis of 37 definitions. Corp Soc Responsib Environ Manag 15(1):1–13CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Du S, Bhattacharya CB, Sen S (2007) Reaping relational rewards from corporate social responsibility: the role of competitive positioning. Int J Res Mark 24(3):224–241CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Edinger-Schons LM, Sipilä J, Sen S, Mende G, Wieseke J (2018) Are two reasons better than one? The role of appeal type in consumer responses to sustainable products. J Consum Psychol 28(4):644–664CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Ehrich KR, Irwin JR (2005) Willful ignorance in the request for product attribute information. J Mark Res 42(3):266–277CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Erlandsson A, Jungstrand AÅ, Västfjäll D (2016) Anticipated guilt for not helping and anticipated warm glow for helping are differently impacted by personal responsibility to help. Front Psychol 7Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    F. Burke P, Eckert C, Davis S (2014) Segmenting consumers’ reasons for and against ethical consumption. Eur J Mark 48(11/12):2237–2261CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Fernandes D, Mandel N (2014) Political conservatism and variety-seeking. J Consum Psychol 24(1):79–86CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Fitzgerald MP, Donovan KR (2018) Consumer responses to for-profit firms exercising religious freedom in the marketplace. J Public Policy Mark 37(1):39–54CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Folkes V, Kamins M (1999) Effects of information about firms’ ethical and unethical actions on consumers’ attitudes. J Consum Psychol 8(3):243–259CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Friedman M (1996) A positive approach to organized consumer action: the ‘buycott’ as an alternative to the boycott. J Consum Policy 19(4):439–451CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Gregory-Smith D, Smith A, Winklhofer H (2013) Emotions and dissonance in ‘ethical’ consumption choices. J Mark Manag 29(11–12):1201–1223CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Gupta R, Sen S (2013) The effect of evolving resource synergy beliefs on the intentions–behavior discrepancy in ethical consumption. J Consum Psychol 23(1):114–121CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Hibbing JR, Smith KB, Alford JR (2014) DigitalCommons@University of Nebraska-Lincoln differences in negativity bias underlie variations in political ideology differences in negativity bias underlie variations in political ideologyGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Hoffmann S, Hutter K (2011) Carrotmob as a new form of ethical consumption. The nature of the concept and avenues for future research. J Consum Policy 35(2):215–236CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Hydock C, Paharia N (2018) Market structure and firm engagement in divisive political issues, in ACR North American AdvancesGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Irwin JR, Baron J (2001) Response mode effects and moral values. Organ Behav Hum Decis Process 84(2):177–197CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Irwin JR, Naylor RW (2009) Ethical decisions and response mode compatibility: weighting of ethical attributes in consideration sets formed by excluding versus including product alternatives. J Mark Res 46(2):234–246CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Iyengar S, Westwood SJ (2014) Fear and loathing across party lines: new evidence on group polarization. Am J Polit Sci 59(3):690–707CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Joireman J, Smith D, Liu RL, Arthurs J (2015) It’s all good: corporate social responsibility reduces negative and promotes positive responses to service failures among value-aligned customers. J Public Policy Mark 34(1):32–49CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Jost JT (2017) The marketplace of ideology: ‘elective affinities’ in political psychology and their implications for consumer behavior. J Consum Psychol 27(4):502–520CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Jung K, Garbarino E, Briley DA, Wynhausen J (2017) Blue and red voices: effects of political ideology on consumers’ complaining and disputing behavior. J Consum Res 44(3):477–499CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Kleine RE, Kleine SS, Kernan JB (1993) Mundane consumption and the self: a social-identity perspective. J Consum Psychol 2(3):209–235CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Kotler P, Sarkar C (2017) Finally, brand activism!, Mark J. [Online]. Available: http://www.marketingjournal.org/finally-brand-activism-philip-kotler-and-christian-sarkar/. Accessed 8/1/2018
  42. 42.
    Krishna A, Sokolova T (2017) A focus on partisanship: how it impacts voting behaviors and political attitudes. J Consum Psychol 27(4):537–545CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Lii Y-S, Lee M (2011) Doing right leads to doing well: when the type of CSR and reputation interact to affect consumer evaluations of the firm. J Bus Ethics 105(1):69–81CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Lux S, Crook TR, Woehr DJ (2010) Mixing business with politics: a meta-analysis of the antecedents and outcomes of corporate political activity. J Manag 37(1):223–247Google Scholar
  45. 45.
    Marin L, Ruiz S, Rubio A (2008) The role of identity salience in the effects of corporate social responsibility on consumer behavior. J Bus Ethics 84(1):65–78CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. 46.
    Megicks P, Memery J, Williams J (2008) Influences on ethical and socially responsible shopping: evidence from the UK grocery sector. J Mark Manag 24(5–6):637–659CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. 47.
    Micheletti M, Stolle D (2012) Sustainable citizenship and the new politics of consumption. Ann Am Acad Pol Soc Sci 644(1):88–120CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. 48.
    Miller KE, Sturdivant FD (1977) Consumer responses to socially questionable corporate behavior: an empirical test. J Consum Res 4(1):1CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. 49.
    Mishra S, Modi SB (2016) Corporate social responsibility and shareholder wealth: the role of marketing capability. J Mark 80(1):26–46CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. 50.
    Mohr LA, Webb DJ (2005) The effects of corporate social responsibility and price on consumer responses. J Consum Aff 39(1):121–147CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. 51.
    Morsing M, Roepstorff A (2014) CSR as corporate political activity: observations on IKEA’s CSR identity–image dynamics. J Bus Ethics 128(2):395–409CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. 52.
    Nan X, Heo K (2007) Consumer responses to corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives: examining the role of brand-cause fit in cause-related marketing. J Advert 36(2):63–74CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. 53.
    Ordabayeva N, Fernandes D (2018) Better or different? How political ideology shapes preferences for differentiation in the social hierarchy. J Consum Res 45(2):227–250CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. 54.
    Oyserman D (2009) Identity-based motivation: implications for action-readiness, procedural-readiness, and consumer behavior. J Consum Psychol 19(3):250–260CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. 55.
    Paek H-J, Nelson MR (2009) To buy or not to buy: determinants of socially responsible consumer behavior and consumer reactions to cause-related and boycotting ads. J Curr Issues Res Advert 31(2):75–90CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. 56.
    Paharia N, Vohs KD, Deshpandé R (2013) Sweatshop labor is wrong unless the shoes are cute: cognition can both help and hurt moral motivated reasoning. Organ Behav Hum Decis Process 121(1):81–88CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. 57.
    Peloza J, Shang J (2010) How can corporate social responsibility activities create value for stakeholders? A systematic review. J Acad Mark Sci 39(1):117–135CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. 58.
    Peloza J, White K, Shang J (2013) Good and guilt-free: the role of self-accountability in influencing preferences for products with ethical attributes. J Mark 77(1):104–119CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. 59.
    Pracejus JW, Olsen GD (2004) The role of brand/cause fit in the effectiveness of cause-related marketing campaigns. J Bus Res 57(6):635–640CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. 60.
    Pruitt SW, Friedman M (1986) Determining the effectiveness of consumer boycotts: a stock price analysis of their impact on corporate targets. J Consum Policy 9(4):375–387CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. 61.
    Reczek RW, Irwin JR, Zane DM, Ehrich KR (2017) That’s not how I remember it: willfully ignorant memory for ethical product attribute information. J Consum Res 45(1):185–207CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. 62.
    Reed A (2004) Activating the self-importance of consumer selves: exploring identity salience effects on judgments. J Consum Res 31(2):286–295CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. 63.
    Rotman JD, Khamitov M, Connors S (2017) Lie, cheat, and steal: how harmful brands motivate consumers to act unethically. J Consum Psychol 28(2):353–361CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. 64.
    Rozin P, Royzman EB (2001) Negativity bias, negativity dominance, and contagion. Personal Soc Psychol Rev 5(4):296–320CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. 65.
    Rozin P, Singh L (1999) The moralization of cigarette smoking in the United States. J Consum Psychol 8(3):321–337CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. 66.
    Sandıkcı Ö, Ekici A (2009) Politically motivated brand rejection. J Bus Res 62(2):208–217CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. 67.
    Sen S, Bhattacharya CB (2001) Does doing good always lead to doing better? Consumer reactions to corporate social responsibility. J Mark Res 38(2):225–243CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. 68.
    Sen S, Morwitz VG (1996) Consumer reactions to a provider’s position on social issues: the effect of varying frames of reference. J Consum Psychol 5(1):27–48CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. 69.
    Sen S, Gürhan-Canli Z, Morwitz V (2001) Withholding consumption: a social dilemma perspective on consumer boycotts. J Consum Res 28(3):399–417CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. 70.
    Shaw D, Riach K (2011) Embracing ethical fields: constructing consumption in the margins. Eur J Mark 45(7/8):1051–1067CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. 71.
    Shimp TA, Donnelly JH, Ivancevich JM (1970) Study of consumer political orientations and store patronage. J Appl Psychol 54(5):470–472CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. 72.
    Stolle D, Hooghe M, Micheletti M (2005) Politics in the supermarket: political consumerism as a form of political participation. Int Polit Sci Rev 26(3):245–269CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. 73.
    Swimberghe K, Flurry LA, Parker JM (2011) Consumer religiosity: consequences for consumer activism in the United States. J Bus Ethics 103(3):453–467CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. 74.
    Szmigin I, Carrigan M, McEachern MG (2009) The conscious consumer: taking a flexible approach to ethical behaviour. Int J Consum Stud 33(2):224–231CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. 75.
    Trudel R, Cotte J (2009) Does it pay to be good? Sloan Manag Rev 50(2):61–68Google Scholar
  76. 76.
    van Marrewijk M (2003) Concepts and definitions of CSR and corporate sustainability: between agency and communion. J Bus Ethics 44(2-3):95-105Google Scholar
  77. 77.
    Vanhamme J, Grobben B (2008) ‘Too good to be true!’. The effectiveness of CSR history in countering negative publicity. J Bus Ethics 85(S2):273–283CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. 78.
    Webster Frederick JE (1975) Determining the characteristics of the socially conscious consumer. J Consum Res 2(3):188CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. 79.
    Wettstein F, Baur D (2015) ‘Why should we care about marriage equality?’: political advocacy as a part of corporate responsibility. J Bus Ethics 138(2):199–213CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. 80.
    White K, Dahl DW (2007) Are all out-groups created equal? Consumer identity and dissociative influence. J Consum Res 34(4):525–536CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. 81.
    White K, Simpson B, Argo JJ (2014) The motivating role of dissociative out-groups in encouraging positive consumer behaviors. J Mark Res 51(4):433–447CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. 82.
    Yoon Y, Gürhan-Canli Z, Schwarz N (2006) The effect of corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities on companies with bad reputations. J Consum Psychol 16(4):377–390CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. 83.
    Yuksel U (2013) Non-participation in Anti-consumption. J Macromark 33(3):204–216CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. 84.
    Zane DM, Irwin JR, Reczek RW (2016) Do less ethical consumers denigrate more ethical consumers? The effect of willful ignorance on judgments of others. J Consum Psychol 26(3):337–349CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Orfalea College of BusinessCalifornia Polytechnic State UniversitySan Luis ObispoUSA
  2. 2.Georgetown UniversityWashington DCUSA

Personalised recommendations