What Makes CSR Communication Lead to CSR Participation? Testing the Mediating Effects of CSR Associations, CSR Credibility, and Organization–Public Relationships

Sun Young Lee, Weiwu Zhang, Alan Abitbol

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study examines consumers’ uses of corporate social responsibility (CSR) communication channels, the relationship of such uses to consumers’ CSR awareness, and the mechanisms through which consumers’ CSR awareness can lead to their intention to participate in CSR activities. Specifically, we explored the mediation effects of consumers’ CSR associations with a company, consumers’ assessment of the company’s CSR credibility, and consumers’ perceptions of their relationship with the company, applying the conceptual frameworks of the uses and gratification theory, source credibility theory, and organization–public relationship (OPR) scholarship. We conducted an online survey of a company’s customers (N = 394), and the results showed that their level of awareness of the company’s CSR activities was positively related to the degree of use of all communication channels through which they received CSR messages, except CSR reports. The degree of the customers’ awareness of the company’s CSR programs, however, did not always correspond to the customers’ intention to participate in the programs: a crucial condition mediating between the customers’ knowledge of CSR programs and their intention to participate in the programs was their associating the company with CSR. The CSR associations influenced CSR credibility and perceived OPR quality, which, in turn, led to CSR participation intention. We discuss the theoretical and practical implications of these findings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)413-429
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
Volume157
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 30 2019

Keywords

  • CSR associations
  • CSR participation intention
  • Corporate social responsibility (CSR)
  • Organization–public relationships (OPRs)
  • Source credibility

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