ABSTRACT

Purpose – There have been numerous studies investigating the effects of corporate social responsibility initiatives on corporate associations or corporate images. In line of this research stream, current research examined the potential impact of customer participation in the process of corporate social responsibility initiatives on attitude toward the company. This research differentiates from previous studies that it is the first to connect corporate social responsibility and customer participation. Specifically, we suggest a structural model on corporate associations which was classified into corporate ability associations and corporate social responsibility associations that the more the customers participate in initiating corporate social responsibility, corporate associations were formed more positively. And this leads to the increase of revisit intentions through customer satisfaction. Research design, data, and methodology – To test our research model, we collected data of real consumers of a large discount store in Korea. At the large discount store, customers were given an opportunity to participate the discount store’s CSR activity program. We performed field survey and collected data of 146 respondents. We analyzed the data using PASW statistics 21.0 and AMOS 16.0 in order to test our structural model. Results – The results showed that consumers who participated more in initiating corporate social responsibility revealed higher score for corporate ability associations and corporate social responsibility associations. These corporate associations had a positive effect on customer satisfaction, which leads to higher attitude toward revisit intentions. Specifically, hypothesis 1.1 "As Customer participation in CSR process increases, the evaluation of CA associations will be positive,"was supported. Hypothesis 1.2 "As Customer participation in CSR process increases, the evaluation of CSR associations will be positive," was supported. Hypothesis 2.1 "As the evaluation of CA associations is positive, satisfaction with the firm will increase," was supported. Hypothesis 2.1 "As the evaluation of CSR associations is positive, satisfaction with the firm will increase," was supported. Hypothesis 3 "As satisfaction with the firm increases, revisit intentions with the firm will increase," was supported. Conclusions – This research is the first to study the relationship between customer participation in CSR process, CSR, and consumer reactions. This research also contributes to customer participation and corporate social responsibility literature by suggesting customer participation as an antecedent and empirically demonstrating the positive relationships between the constructs. The findings of this research may offer managerial implications for marketing practitioners. When performing corporate social initiatives, it is better to let the customer participate in the process which leads to higher corporate ability associations and corporate social responsibility associations, also higher satisfaction and revisit intentions. Our results provide useful information to practioners that spontaneous participation of consumers makes CSR initiatives effective and successful. Limitations and ideas for further research remain in this research. For example, our focus on the logic was cognitive evaluations(e.g. corporate associations) but affective dimensions might be considered since recent researches are investigating the relationship between customer participation and affective reaction as a response. Despite the limitations, this research have unique and applicable implications for academics and practitioners.

KEYWORD

Corporate Social Responsibility, Customer Participation, Corporate Associations, Corporate Ability Associations, Corporate Social Responsibility Associations

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