Csr and Consumer

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The impact of perceived CSR initiatives on consumer’s buying behaviour: An empirical study

Abu Bashar, Assistant Professor, Institute of Management Studies, Dehradun.

ABSTRACT

Although research into CSR and consumer behavior is still relatively young, there exists a growing interest in studying the links between CSR and marketing. The Indian consumers are now well aware that, in pursuing their business endeavors, companies now have to show more responsibility towards society and the environment where they are operating and at the same time do managers increasingly see CSR as a marketing tool to help create a competitive advantage. But what is the actual impact of companies’ engagement in CSR on consumer behavior? The consumers are getting more aware of the corporation involved in corporate social responsibility (CSR) through better education and the increased influence of the media. The companies up to a certain extent has already been realized that their socially responsible behaviour have a direct impact on the consumer buying behaviour.

In this research paper effort has been employed to investigate that how consumers are considering corporation’s CSR initiatives at the time of deciding on their purchase decision of products and services. For measuring CSR economic, legal, ethical and philanthropic variables have been considered from Carroll's definition.

A random stratified sample of 250 respondents have been considered, the data have been collected with the help of structured questionnaire. After the data collection appropriate statistical data analysis was performed in the software program SPSS.

Results confirm a positive relationship between perceived CSR activities and consumer buying behaviour.

Keywords: corporate social responsibility, consumer behaviour, Philanthropy, Consumer buying behaviour.

1. Introduction

Multinational corporations first introduced the term stakeholder in the late 1960’s. Stakeholders were described as those who were in any way affected by the corporations’ activities. Soon thereafter, the term “corporate social responsibility” came into common use. The goal of corporate social responsibility (CSR) is to take responsibility for all the company’s actions and to have a positive impact on its environment, communities, employees, consumers and all other stakeholders (Freeman et al., 2010).

The European Commission (2011) defines CSR as “the responsibility of enterprises for their impacts on society”. More specifically, the responsibility of corporations includes the integration of social, environmental and ethical issues as well as human rights and consumer concerns, into their business operations and core strategy in close collaboration with their stakeholders. In research literature, CSR is defined as “a business organization’s configuration of principles of social responsibility, processes of social responsiveness, and policies, programs, and observable outcomes as they relate to the firm’s societal relationships” (Wood, 1991:693).

In their opinion, the free market in that sense contributes to society by realizing this prosperity and therefore does not have any other obligations in that matter. However, on the other side of the spectrum the free market is viewed as inhibiting human freedom (e.g. through child labor) and as the root cause of economic and cultural imperialism in many developing countries. CSR is also seen as a way to attempt to be one step ahead of governmental interference, in order to avoid any kind of legislative restrictions or reprimands. Additionally, CSR is regarded as being used merely as a marketing tool, which introduces concerns about hypocrisy. As with many ethical issues, a great amount of organizations operate in the broad space in between these extremes, and the topic remains subject to continuous discussion (Friedman, 1970).

One of the most important stakeholder groups is the consumer, and as Creyer and Ross (1997)...
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