Public Relations Review 36 (2010) 193–195
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Public Relations Review
Research in brief
Consumers’ responses to CSR activities: The linkage between increased
awareness and purchase intention
, Dongyoung Shin
Centre for Sustainability Management, Leuphana University, Scharnhorststr. 1, Lueneburg, Germany
Samsung Economic Research Institute, Seocho-2-dong, Seoul 1321-15, Republic of Korea
Received 23 July 2009
Received in revised form 11 October 2009
Accepted 26 October 2009
Corporate social responsibility
Public relations communication strategy
The body of research showing the positive effects of corporate social responsibility (CSR) on
consumer behavior has been growing steadily. However, previous studies have not char-
acterized corporate behaviors in terms of their perception by consumers as signiﬁcant CSR
and researchers have paid little attention to consumers’ understanding of this notion of CSR.
The present study explores the relationship between consumer awareness of CSR activities
and their purchase intentions. This study employs a questionnaire survey involving Korean
consumers. For the analysis, measurement scales for CSR activities and consumers’ pur-
chase intention scales are respectively developed. From the results it is found that there is
a signiﬁcant positive relationship between these two parameters. This study ﬁnds out as
CSR activities corporate social contribution and local community contribution affect con-
sumers’ purchase intention while corporate environmental protection and contribution
have no effects on consumers’ purchase intention.
© 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Over the past decade, we have witnessed the gradual development of a stream of research into how corporate social
responsibility may help a ﬁrm and its products and services to consumers (Maignan, 2001). This research trend has ﬂour-
ished as the marketing potential of corporate responsibility initiatives, including corporate environmentalism, corporate
citizenship, and corporate sustainability, has developed (Drumwright, 1994; Lee, 2009; Menon & Menon, 1997; Wigley,
However, previous studies mainly focused on limited aspects of corporate social responsibility, such as community
involvement or corporate giving or have considered corporate social responsibility (CSR) in general without inquiring into
consumers’ understanding of this notion. As Sen and Bhattacharya (2001) pointed out, there is little known about the effects
of CSR activities on consumers despite increasing emphasis on CSR in the marketplace.
In addition, the concept of corporate social responsibility and most empirical works on this topic originated from Anglo-
Saxon countries—mainly the U.S. and the U.K (Maignan, 2001; Matten & Moon, 2004). Given the international scope of
corporate activities today, it is important for businesses and society to know whether corporate social responsibilities
are perceived in the same manner for other country contexts. Thus, this paper aims to examine the relationship between
consumers’ awareness of CSR activities and their purchase intentions.
Corresponding author. Tel.: +49 4131 677 1577; fax: +49 4131 677 2186.
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Tel.: +82 2 3780 8024.
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