Doing well by doing good: The benevolent halo of corporate social responsibility

Alexander Chernev, Sean Blair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

187 Scopus citations

Abstract

Corporate social responsibility is commonly viewed solely as a tool for enhancing company reputations and engendering goodwill among customers. In contrast, this research shows that the impact of corporate social responsibility can extend beyond public relations and customer goodwill to influence the way consumers evaluate a company’s products. Specifically, this research documents that acts of social goodwill—even when they are unrelated to the company’s core business, as in the case of charitable giving—can alter product perceptions, such that products of companies engaged in prosocial activities are perceived as performing better. More important, the data show that inferences drawn from a company’s prosocial actions are strong enough to alter the product evaluations even when consumers can directly observe and experience the product. The data further show that this effect is a function of the moral undertone of the company’s motivation for engaging in socially responsible behavior and is attenuated when consumers believe that the company’s behavior is driven by self-interest rather than by benevolence. By documenting that social goodwill can benefit consumer perceptions of product performance, these findings show that doing good can indeed translate into doing well.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1412-1425
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Consumer Research
Volume41
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 21 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Marketing

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