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Drivers and relationship benefits of customer willingness to engage in CSR initiatives

O'Brien, I.M., Ouschan, R., Jarvis, W. and Soutar, G.N. (2020) Drivers and relationship benefits of customer willingness to engage in CSR initiatives. Journal of Service Theory and Practice, ahead-of-print .

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The purpose of this paper is to assess the impact of CSR initiative preference, customer helping orientation and customer participation on willingness to engage in CSR and to demonstrate the influence this engagement has on their commitment and loyalty to the organisation.

This study entailed an online survey of customers from a large not-for-profit organisation (n = 210). Choice modelling is used to test a structural equation model of drivers and outcomes of willingness to engage in CSR.

Results demonstrate the CSR initiative preferred by customers has a stronger impact on their willingness to engage with the CSR initiative (volunteering their time, effort, money) than either customers' helping orientation or customer participation. Furthermore, willingness to engage in CSR influences customer commitment and loyalty to support and recommend the organisation.
Research limitations/implications

The results clearly demonstrate the significant impact that customers' preferences for and willingness to engage in CSR initiatives have on customers' relationship with not-for-profit organisations.
Social implications

The results highlight the importance of taking into account customer preferences for CSR issues to encourage customers to engage in CSR initiatives designed to benefit society.

Traditionally CSR literature has focused on how commercial firms' engagement in CSR creates value for the firm and society. The marketing literature has focused on how customer engagement in brand communities benefits the firm. This study extends the research by exploring customers’ willingness to engage in CSR with not-for-profit organisations. It uses Choice modelling to demonstrate the impact of customer preferences for local and aligned CSR initiatives on customer willingness to engage.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Murdoch Business School
Publisher: Emerald Group Publishing Ltd
Copyright: © 2019 Emerald Publishing Limited
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