Purpose – The first purpose of this study is to analyse the impact of prior CSR information on the perceived degree of danger, attribution of blame, brand evaluation and buying intentions after a product‐harm crisis in the food industry. The second purpose is to examine the moderation effect of CSR importance ascribed by the consumers on the above mentioned relations. Design/methodology/approach – An experimental design consisting of three between‐subjects conditions was applied and three CSR initiative conditions were selected (positive, negative CSR and no CSR information as a control condition). In this framework, three different scenarios were designed and tested under the condition of a product‐harm crisis related to margarine. Findings – This study highlights that CSR has an impact on attribution of blame, brand evaluation and buying intention but not on the perceived degree of danger. CSR importance has a moderation effect on the relationship between CSR and blame attribution, brand evaluation and buying intention. Practical implications – Companies in the food industry should generate CSR strategies and should develop favourable CSR history not only because CSR has an impact on brand evaluation and buying intention in routine situations but because it is a part of crisis management and response strategy as well. Originality/value – There is lack of research directly emphasizing the role of CSR in product‐harm crises, in the food industry. Besides, the assessment of CSR as an antecedent assurance factor in crisis situations has significant meaning due to the high vulnerability of food industry.
British Food Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jan 18, 2013
Keywords: Corporate social responsibility; Food industry; Product‐harm crisis; Social responsibility
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