Consumer Perceptions of CSR: The CSR Halo Effect

Author
N. Craig Smith ; Daniel Read and Sofia Lopez
Publisher
INSEAD
Publication date
October 2010
Type
Papers/Notes
Category
Managing Corporate Responsibility
Discipline
Marketing
Language
English
Free/Pay for content
Free
 
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.