CSR from the Customer’s POV

Organizations shouldn’t assume that engaging in corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives will automatically increase their credibility with clients. Instead, a new article published in Social Marketing Quarterly finds that, while CSR can indeed increase corporate credibility, if customers perceive the company’s motives as self-serving rather than altruistic, the opposite may occur:

smqThe authors have found that the CSR image of a particular banking institution is based on customer beliefs and perceptions. In line with this idea, the important roles of coherence, motivations, and credibility in image formation have been demonstrated. First, there is a direct relationship between the corporate motivations perceived by the customers of banking services and corporate credibility. In this way, and in accordance with the proposals of attribution theory, this study shows that when the customer of a banking institution perceives that the company has altruistic, extrinsic, or ethical motivations when designing and implementing its CSR initiatives, the company is more credible and customers perceive a more positive CSR image. In contrast, an organization loses credibility when it is perceived as egoist, such as when customers anticipate intrinsic motivations for carrying out social actions and believe that CSR is seeking not the public benefit of the stakeholders but the private benefit of the institution. The loss of credibility contributes to the deterioration of CSR image, which, as an essential component of corporate image, can have direct consequences on corporate reputation as well as indirect effects in customer satisfaction, retention, or identification with the company.

Read the article “Extending on the Formation Process of CSR Image,” by Andrea Pérez and Ignacio Rodríguez del Bosque, both of the University of Cantabria in Spain, in the Social Marketing Quarterly September 2013 issue.

This entry was posted in Social Marketing and tagged , , , , by Cynthia Nalevanko, Senior Editor, SAGE Publishing. Bookmark the permalink.

About Cynthia Nalevanko, Senior Editor, SAGE Publishing

Founded in 1965, SAGE is the world’s leading independent academic and professional publisher. Known for our commitment to quality and innovation, SAGE has helped inform and educate a global community of scholars, practitioners, researchers, and students across a broad range of subject areas. With over 1500 employees globally from principal offices in Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore, Washington DC, and Melburne, our publishing program includes more than 1000 journals and over 900 books, reference works and databases a year in business, humanities, social sciences, science, technology and medicine. Believing passionately that engaged scholarship lies at the heart of any healthy society and that education is intrinsically valuable, SAGE aims to be the world’s leading independent academic and professional publisher. This means playing a creative role in society by disseminating teaching and research on a global scale, the cornerstones of which are good, long-term relationships, a focus on our markets, and an ability to combine quality and innovation. Leading authors, editors and societies should feel that SAGE is their natural home: we believe in meeting the range of their needs, and in publishing the best of their work. We are a growing company, and our financial success comes from thinking creatively about our markets and actively responding to the needs of our customers.

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