When and How Does Corporate Social Responsibility Encourage Customer Orientation?
affiliation not provided to SSRN
European School of Management and Technology (ESMT)
Scott D. Swain
May 31, 2011
ESMT Working Paper No. 11-05
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is an asset that companies can leverage to improve relationships with both customers and employees. This paper extends prior research by examining when and how CSR improves an employee’s relationship with customers. More specifically, we develop a model linking CSR activity to one of marketing’s most central constructs – the customer orientation of frontline employees. Drawing from social identity theory, the model predicts that the effect of CSR activity on customer orientation is mediated by the dual identities of frontline employees: identification with customers and identification with the company. Moreover, the model predicts that distinct aspects of CSR are related to each of these identities; the extent to which an employee senses that customers share his or her “demand” for CSR contributes to identification with customers, while the perceived efficacy of CSR activities and the employee’s participation in CSR contribute to organizational identification. A field study of 534 customer-contact employees from multiple companies in the hospitality and retail industries provides empirical support for the model.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 52
Keywords: corporate social responsibility, employee-customer relationships, organizational identification, customer orientationworking papers series
Date posted: June 2, 2011 ; Last revised: December 5, 2012
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