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Consumers’ evaluations of socially responsible activities in retailing


  • van Herpen, Erica
  • Pennings, Joost M.E.
  • Meulenberg, Matthew T.G.


We approach Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as a process in which particular CSR activities impact on consumers’ store evaluation and trust. We hypothesize that consumers classify CSR activities along two dimensions: (1) the beneficiary of the activity and (2) the intrinsic contribution of the retailer, implying that consumers are interested in who reaps the benefits of the activity and how much the retailer invests in the activity. This conceptualization is confirmed in two field studies with 823 and 486 consumers. These field studies also show that consumers who perceive more CSR have more trust in the store and that their overall evaluation of the store is higher. Furthermore, it is shown that even though CSR affects both outcomes, the effect on trust is stronger than the effect on store evaluation. Our research indicates that CSR is particularly suited to build trust. Economic activities, on the other hand, are better for obtaining a good store evaluation.

Suggested Citation

  • van Herpen, Erica & Pennings, Joost M.E. & Meulenberg, Matthew T.G., 2003. "Consumers’ evaluations of socially responsible activities in retailing," Mansholt Working Papers 46730, Wageningen University, Mansholt Graduate School of Social Sciences.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:wagmwp:46730
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.46730

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Larue Tone Hosmer, 1994. "Strategic planning as if ethics mattered," Strategic Management Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(S2), pages 17-34, June.
    2. Abagail McWilliams & Donald Siegel, 2000. "Corporate social responsibility and financial performance: correlation or misspecification?," Strategic Management Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 21(5), pages 603-609, May.
    3. Catherine M. Paul & Donald Siegel, 2006. "Corporate social responsibility and economic performance," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 26(3), pages 207-211, December.
    4. Greenley, Gordon E. & Foxall, Gordon R., 1996. "Consumer and nonconsumer stakeholder orientation in U.K. companies," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 105-116, February.
    5. Dillon, William R & Frederick, Donald G & Tangpanichdee, Vanchai, 1985. " Decision Issues in Building Perceptual Product Spaces with Multi-attribute Rating Data," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(1), pages 47-63, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Andrea Pérez & Ignacio Rodríguez del Bosque, 2012. "The Role of CSR in the Corporate Identity of Banking Service Providers," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 108(2), pages 145-166, June.
    2. Xinming Deng & Yang Xu, 2017. "Consumers’ Responses to Corporate Social Responsibility Initiatives: The Mediating Role of Consumer–Company Identification," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 142(3), pages 515-526, May.
    3. Christopher Groening & Vamsi K. Kanuri, 2018. "Investor Reactions to Concurrent Positive and Negative Stakeholder News," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 149(4), pages 833-856, June.
    4. Andrea Pérez & Ignacio Rodríguez del Bosque, 2013. "Measuring CSR Image: Three Studies to Develop and to Validate a Reliable Measurement Tool," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 118(2), pages 265-286, December.

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    Consumer/Household Economics;


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