Purpose – This article aims to investigate young people's opinions and attitudes towards companies' engagement and communication about corporate social responsibility (CSR). Design/methodology/approach – The study employs a survey designed to uncover the underlying attitudes and values guiding young consumers' perception and evaluation of companies' engagement in and communication about CSR. The respondents are Danish students enrolled in eight different types of further or higher education. Findings – The survey shows that consumers are interested in and expect more explicit CSR communication than currently assumed by corporations and academics alike. They favour communication that is personally relevant and factually based, and consumer scepticism is not as high as suggested by current literature. The findings reflect that the value system guiding CSR evaluation and perception is not based on moral aspects and social, society‐centred values. On the contrary, consumers' focus tends to be on competence and personal, self‐centred values, which has implications for the challenge of communicating CSR. Practical implications – The findings provide new insights that can inform corporations in their planning and execution of CSR communication aimed at young consumers. Originality/value – This paper provides empirical evidence that corporations communicating CSR should have a much more externally oriented and explicit approach focusing on competence and self‐centred values instead of on morality and society‐centred values. This will allow them to create a healthy balance between what they can offer and what consumers demand.
Corporate Communications: An International Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jan 27, 2012
Keywords: Corporate social responsibility; Consumers; Communication; Values; Consumer engagement; Denmark
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