CSR Halo: The Gift that Keeps on Giving?
24 Pages Posted: 7 Mar 2018 Last revised: 12 Mar 2018
Date Written: March 6, 2018
Little is known about how consumers form CSR perceptions of the organizations they buy from. We propose that one way is through a CSR halo effect, whereby consumer awareness of some of a firm’s CSR initiatives influences their judgments and preferences with regard to CSR in other areas about which they have little or no information. This gives rise to some provocative research questions. We present two studies that support the existence of a robust halo effect within-domain (e.g., environment) and across-domains (e.g., environmental action influences perceptions of employee-related CSR), wherein companies known to engage in specific CSR practices get credited with doing other CSR practices and doing a better job of them. Beyond conceptualizing and testing for the existence of the CSR halo, we explore how it can originate, its nature and scope. We conclude with implications for CSR communications strategy such as what CSR initiatives to communicate and when, as well as implications for public policy and future research, including how to prevent a possible “dark side” to company reputation management.
Keywords: CSR Communications, CSR Domains, Greenwashing, Inference Making, Halo Effect
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