Good Customers Admire and Patronize Socially Responsible Firms

Significance 

The success of consumer organizations can be attributed to many factors including consumer feedback regarding their products, services, and actions. All these are linked to the corporate social responsibility that has recently attracted significant research attention in the consumer behavior field. This vital aspect of corporate organization is not only meant to strengthen consumer loyalty by influencing their overall attitudes but also to build a mutual and positive relationship between the consumers and the organization.

Former studies on the corporate social responsibility have revealed its benefits to both the consumer and the organization. It is mainly built on the positive perception effect of the consumer behavior focusing majorly on the cognitive evaluation. However, the emotional aspect of corporate social responsibility has not been fully explored despite the considerable effects of the perceived corporate social responsibility practices on the consumer emotions that may in turn influence consumer behavior.

Herein, Spanish researchers: Dr. Sandra Castro-González, Dr. Belén Bande from University of Santiago de Compostela and Dr. Pilar Fernández-Ferrín from University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU together with Professor Takuma Kimura from the Hosei University in Japan explored the influence mechanism of corporate social responsibility and consumer behavior and how it relates with the moral-related characteristics and emotions. The authors intend to promote consumer advocacy behaviors by bridging the existing gap in the consumer responses to corporate social responsibility practices by focusing on the neglected aspects including the image and reputation. Additionally, they explored how the corporate social responsibility drives the short-term advocacy behavior focused on improving long-term financial performance. Their work is currently published in Journal of Cleaner Production.

While the existing models tend to overlook some of the underlying psychological processes, the authors proposed a mediation model based on admiration. Thus, they expected to dig deep in evaluating the moderating role of the consumer moral virtue of integrity in the relationship between the admiration feelings and the corporate social responsibility perception. Data was obtained from customers of a particular food company located in Spain.

The results indicated that the company’s corporate social responsibility practices, directly and indirectly, influence the consumer advocacy behaviors through consumer admiration of the company and also that the belief that consumer integrity indeed moderates the relationship between admiration and consumer perception of the corporate social responsibility. Therefore, these findings provide new insights that can be used to improve an organization’s classification criteria by taking into consideration the consumer values and virtues. Furthermore, this work counters the existing doubt on the economic benefits of corporate social responsibility to organizations, particularly food companies. For instance, it proves that the presence of corporate social responsibility initiatives in a food company can positively influence consumer behavior that is critical to its market survival.

In summary, the study has successfully evaluated the importance of emotions and moral virtues in enhancing the effects of corporate social responsibility on consumer advocacy behaviors. Using a food company as a better example, the research shows the benefit of corporate social responsibility practices. Thus, Professor Takuma Kimura in a statement to Advances in Engineering observed that the work justified the need for organizations to incorporate this type of action in their consumer business strategies and effectively communicate them to get positive returns.

About the author

Sandra Castro-González is an Assistant Professor of Marketing at the University of Santiago de Compostela. Her current research focuses on investigating the relationship between CSR and consumer or/and salespeople attitudes and behaviours. She has authored and co-authored on papers in refereed international journals such as Journal of Cleaner Production, Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, Sustainability or Data in Brief.

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About the author

Dr. Belén Bande is an Associate Professor of Marketing at the University of Santiago de Compostela, in Spain. Her research interests include sales management, CSR and the influence of affective and social factors in consumer behavior. Her work has been published in several journals including the Journal of Organizational Behaviour, Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, Industrial Marketing Management, Journal of Business Research, Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management, Journal of Cleaner Production, European Journal of Marketing, Psychology and Marketing and Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing.

About the author

Pilar Fernández-Ferrín is an Associate Professor of Marketing at the University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU, in Spain. Her research interests include consumer behaviour, sales management and mentoring. She has published in Journal of Product Innovation Management, Technovation, Industrial Marketing Management, Journal of Cleaner Production, Food Quality and Preference, Journal of Business Research, European Management Journal, International Journal of Emerging Markets or Management Decision.

About the author

Takuma Kimura is a Full Professor at Hosei University, Japan. He came to academe after careers in start-up companies and a consulting firm. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Tokyo. His main research field is organizational behavior. He published his work in prominent business journals such as International Journal of Management Reviews, Industrial Marketing Management, Journal of Business Ethics, and European Management Journal. He serves as an editorial board member of Frontiers in Psychology, and an anonymous reviewer for a lot of internationally prominent academic journals.

Reference

Castro-González, S., Bande, B., Fernández-Ferrín, P., & Kimura, T. (2019). Corporate social responsibility and consumer advocacy behaviors: The importance of emotions and moral virtues. Journal of Cleaner Production, 231, 846-855.

Go To Journal of Cleaner Production

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