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Corporate social responsibility and consumers' perception of price

  • Daniela Abrantes Ferreira
  • Marcos Gonçalves Avila
  • Marina Dias de Faria
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    Purpose – This study intends to investigate whether corporate social responsibility (CSR) would positively influence the benefit and the value perceived by the consumer in the company's offer, the judgment of fairness in the price differential charged for it, and his/her buying intention, in a context where the socially responsible firm practises a price higher than the competition. It also investigates whether a social action, supported by the firm, with direct impact on the consumer's life, would provoke a higher effect in his/her reactions than a social action with indirect impact. Design/methodology/approach – The objectives were achieved through experimental methodology, using scenarios. Prior studies contributions to CSR and consumer behavior domains and the theoretical framework supporting the model of perceived value generated the study's proposition, which was translated in a set of hypotheses. Findings – The results obtained indicated that consumers perceived greater benefit and value in the offer of the socially responsible firm, and were showed to be willing to pay 10 percent more for its product, judging this price differential as being fair. Moreover, the social action with direct impact on the consumer's life influenced more positively his/her reactions than the social action with indirect impact. Research limitations/implications – The research instrument opens up the possibility for people to try to give answers that are in accordance with socially established rules and conventions. Also, a non-probabilistic convenience sample was adopted. Issues for future studies are: price sensitivity in the context of CSR; the importance of CSR as a factor of influence in buying decision compared with other factors; variables that could exert influence on the impact of CSR on consumers' reactions; the influence of information sources about CSR in the consumer's buying decision. Practical implications – The results of the study indicate that companies have the opportunity to respond to their consumers' desires of feeling good about a purchase (incentivating CSR), while achieving their business goals and, simultaneously, giving their own contribution to society. Also, when deciding on the social project to invest, firms should try to know which social actions are more valued by their consumers, which are those they judge to benefit them more directly. Originality/value – The results achieved the integration of CSR in the field of perception of price fairness, as one motive that contributes to a price differential be judged as fair. As a part of the study, a measurement scale was elaborated and tested for the variable perceived benefit.

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    Article provided by Emerald Group Publishing in its journal Social Responsibility Journal.

    Volume (Year): 6 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 2 (July)
    Pages: 208-221

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    Handle: RePEc:eme:srjpps:v:6:y:2010:i:2:p:208-221
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    1. Bolton, Lisa E & Warlop, Luk & Alba, Joseph W, 2003. " Consumer Perceptions of Price (Un)Fairness," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(4), pages 474-91, March.
    2. Vaidyanathan, Rajiv & Aggarwal, Praveen, 2003. "Who is the fairest of them all? An attributional approach to price fairness perceptions," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 56(6), pages 453-463, June.
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