The primary purpose of this paper is to explore and interpret the perceptions of Malaysian consumers regarding the factors that facilitate their market support for corporate social responsibility (CSR) through the lens of moral legitimacy.Design/methodology/approachThis paper interprets qualitative data gathered from in-depth interviews with Malaysian consumers. The findings are then mapped to four forms of evaluations for moral legitimacy identified in the literature, towards establishing a conceptual model of consumer support for CSR.FindingsOverall, six factors were identified as facilitating consumer market support for CSR. Of these, consumers were found to perceive strategic alignment between a firm’s business and its CSR as the most fundamental. In the absence of which, all other considerations are rendered irrelevant. Upon the requirement for alignment being met, the consumers then place emphasis on the manner by which a CSR activity is executed, for deciding whether to support or otherwise.Practical implicationsIn contrast to previous reports in the literature concerning Malaysian consumers and CSR, the findings suggest that Malaysian consumers now have increased levels of awareness and maturity with regard to CSR, not unlike that of consumers in the West. Therefore, Malaysian firms will have to stop treating their CSR activities as an add-on, as has been reported previously, and they should endeavour to integrate their CSR into their overall business strategy.Originality valueThis paper offers an important insight about the consumers’ market support for CSR in the context of a developing nation.
Journal of Global Responsibility – Emerald Publishing
Published: Feb 12, 2018
Keywords: Malaysia; Corporate social responsibility; Consumer behaviour; Organizational legitimacy
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