When consumers are skeptical of a company “doing good” : examining how company-cause fit and message specific-ness interplay on consumer response toward corporate social responsibility (CSR)
KeywordsCorporate social responsibility
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AbstractThis dissertation intends to establish a theoretical framework that examines relationships among key constructs in corporate social responsibility (CSR), such as a company-cause fit, message specific-ness, and consumer skepticism toward CSR. Three online experiments were conducted to examine the proposed hypotheses. First, study 1 examines the extent to which the levels of a company-cause fit influence consumer skepticism and evaluation of a company and their CSR. Second, study 2 investigates the role of message specific-ness on consumer skepticism and their response toward a company and its CSR. Lastly, study 3 studies the interaction effect of company-cause fit and message specific-ness on how consumers respond to a company and its CSR. The results reveal that company-cause fit types (i.e., low versus high), and message specific-ness types (i.e., more specific versus less specific) are significant factors that influence consumer skepticism and evaluation of a company and its CSR. Moreover, the findings in study 3 reveal that a significant interaction effect of company-cause fit and message specific-ness on how consumers consider a company as socially responsible. Lastly, all three studies indicate that consumer skepticism mediated the impact of the levels of a company-cause fit, message specific-ness and its interaction on their response toward a company and its CSR. In conclusion, this dissertation contributes in advancing the knowledge of CSR by offering fresh insights of understanding how consumer process messages varying in the degrees of specific- ness and a company-cause fit. This research also provides practical implications for practitioners to effectively communicate their CSR to consumers.