Building a socially responsible image: Understanding the effects of CSR, corporate ability and endorsement on stakeholders' evaluation
Ho, Benjamin Meng Keng
Date of Issue2016
Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information
In recent years, the notion of corporate social responsibility (CSR) for organizations has grown in importance. While consumers are generally supportive of socially responsible behaviour, there is little systemic research on how organizations enforce CSR and the different consequences of CSR behaviour. Moreover, there have yet been any prominent studies or theoretical frameworks examining the relationship between CSR and corporate image (Murray & Vogel, 1997; Wartick 2002). The study examines this relationship by first collecting qualitative insights from practitioners to identify the salience of CSR behaviour among other contributors of a good corporate image. The qualitative study elucidates current CSR perspectives from the industry (Blum-Kusterer and Hussain, 2001) and its findings were distilled into a socially responsible image (SRI) framework. The SRI framework focuses on an organization’s corporate ability (CA), CSR and endorsement in influencing stakeholders’ perceptual, image, behavioural and relational evaluations of the organization. Thereafter, the veracity of the SRI framework is further examined using an experiment design. The quantitative study found that CA, CSR and endorsement have strong but differentiated direct effects on stakeholder evaluations of the organization. In particular CSR is a strong driver of perceptual and image outcomes related to an organization’s social responsibility. The findings revealed several two-way interaction effects between CSR and endorsement, CA and CSR and lastly CA and endorsement. The effects of endorsement were most pronounced when CSR levels are low. In addition, stakeholders have higher CSR expectations of organizations with high CA. Conversely, high CSR levels and endorsement could help an organization compensate for its low CA. The study also found that endorsements could potentially hurt an organization with high CA due to the possible negative attributions from stakeholders. The study calls for better communication of CSR behaviour and endorsement especially for organizations with high CA.
DRNTU::Library and information science
Nanyang Technological University