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Chapter 8: Finding the link between CSR initiatives and consumers: the role of benefits and consumer–company identification
The topic of corporate social responsibility (CSR) has drawn increasing interest both from academics and companies. The growing interest comes from multidisciplinary fields, covering human resource management, industrial and organizational psychology, operations, information systems, management (Aguinis and Glavas, 2012) and marketing (Torres et al., 2012). Firms’ social concerns have been studied for many decades, but in most of the early works, consumers were neglected. As a key part of company strategy, consumers have been incorporated into the discussion, increasing the number of marketing studies (Bigné et al., 2010a). This chapter attempts to answer the following questions. First, why and how are consumers interested in corporate social policies, and, subsequently, does this influence their purchase intentions? Second, why and how are companies developing these activities? The chapter assumes that companies are market-oriented and that managers’ utility is both financial and non-financial. Under the first assumption, a company will develop social activities according to consumers’ interests and wishes; following the managers’ utility assumption, the initiative for developing social activities is related to its profitability as well as to other nonfinancial outcomes anchored in its values and responsibilities defined by managers and legislative or international bodies. This last includes legal requirements and rules imposed on companies as members of organizations (e.g. International Air Transport Association – IATA) and supply contractors.
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