Socio-Political and Economic Influences on Consumers' Willingness to Punish Irresponsible Corporate Behaviour Across 30 Countries

41 Pages Posted: 31 May 2006

See all articles by Geoffrey Williams

Geoffrey Williams

Academy of Responsible Management

John Zinkin

Nottingham University Business School (NUBS)

Date Written: August 2005

Abstract

This paper explores the relationship between consumer behaviour, corporate social responsibility (CSR) and a set of socio-political and economic factors using a sample of nearly 90,000 stakeholders drawn from 30 countries over the period 2000-2003. We develop a set of hypotheses relating consumers' willingness to punish poor CSR to a number of economic, social and political indicators. Our results show that globalisation, free markets and the development of liberal citizenship rights increase the willingness and ability of consumers to regulate firm behaviour and to punish bad CSR. However we find very limited evidence that government involvement makes much of a difference. Paradoxically, these market oriented implications contradict the Friedman (1970) view since they suggest that when exposed to market pressures and, "free-to-choose," consumers firms have to pay more attention to social concerns not less as implied by the, "shareholder-only," view. The observation that consumer attitudes to CSR depend on social and institutional differences between countries has implications for our understanding of CSR and for the development and assessment of theoretical models of CSR in different contexts. Further our results provide insights into how CSR strategies might be designed by multinational firms and addressed by NGOs and for how government policy in this area should be devised and implemented.

Keywords: Corporate Social Responsibility, Socio-Political Factors, Markets, Governments, Globalization, Business Strategy

JEL Classification: M14, M21, M10, M20

Suggested Citation

Williams, Geoffrey Alan and Zinkin, John, Socio-Political and Economic Influences on Consumers' Willingness to Punish Irresponsible Corporate Behaviour Across 30 Countries (August 2005). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=905195 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.905195

Geoffrey Alan Williams (Contact Author)

Academy of Responsible Management

Suite 2B-12-3, Block 2B, Plaza Sentra
2 Jalan Stesen Sentral 5
Kuala Lumpur, 50470
Malaysia

John Zinkin

Nottingham University Business School (NUBS) ( email )

Jubilee Campus
Wollaton Road
Nottingham, NG8 1BB
United Kingdom

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