Consumers' Reactions to Acquisitions of Socially Responsible Companies

Eleni Zoi Papavasileiou, Boston University
Scott D. Swain, Boston University
C.B. Bhattacharya, Boston University
This study investigates whether and how consumers react towards the trend of socially responsible companies’ acquisitions by multinational companies. We focus on consumer-company identification as an outcome of such acquisitions and we propose three main drivers: (1) the corporate social responsibility (CSR) profiles of the two companies, (2) consumers’ attributions regarding the companies’ CSR policies, and (3) consumers’ Social Value Orientation (SVO). First, our results suggest that different consumers react differently to acquisitions. Second, companies with low CSR image could strengthen consumer affiliations by acquiring a socially responsible company and promote intrinsic motives (via communication). Finally, acquired companies can strengthen consumer relationships only by promoting intrinsic attributions (via communication) and positioning themselves as truly socially responsible.
[ to cite ]:
Eleni Zoi Papavasileiou, Scott D. Swain, and C.B. Bhattacharya (2008) ,"Consumers' Reactions to Acquisitions of Socially Responsible Companies", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 35, eds. Angela Y. Lee and Dilip Soman, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 1015-1016.