Consumer Perceptions of Corporate Social Responsibility: The CSR Halo Effect

Posted: 30 Mar 2010 Last revised: 19 May 2018

See all articles by N. Craig Smith

N. Craig Smith

INSEAD

Daniel Read

University of Warwick - Warwick Business School

Sofia López-Rodríguez

INSEAD

Date Written: March 23, 2010

Abstract

While consumers are often identified as a driver of the “business case” for corporate social responsibility, little is known about the precise impact CSR has on consumers. It has been widely speculated that socially responsible behavior will be subject to a halo effect whereby consumer awareness of one set of CSR actions (e.g., recycling) will influence their perceptions of CSR performance in other areas (e.g., eco-friendly production) about which they have little or no information. Two studies provide support for a halo effect within domain (e.g., environment) and across domains (e.g., environmental action influences perceptions of CSR performance in relation to the local community). Our research suggests that consumers may well make inferences about company CSR performance on the basis of very limited information. This has implications for company CSR strategy and for public policy where companies attempt to use the CSR halo to manipulate consumer perceptions of CSR performance.

Suggested Citation

Smith, N. Craig and Read, Daniel and López-Rodríguez, Sofia, Consumer Perceptions of Corporate Social Responsibility: The CSR Halo Effect (March 23, 2010). INSEAD Working Paper No. 2010/16/INSEAD Social Innovation Centre. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1577000 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1577000

N. Craig Smith (Contact Author)

INSEAD ( email )

Boulevard de Constance
77305 Fontainebleau Cedex
France

Daniel Read

University of Warwick - Warwick Business School ( email )

Coventry CV4 7AL
United Kingdom

Sofia López-Rodríguez

INSEAD ( email )

Boulevard de Constance
77305 Fontainebleau Cedex
France

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