The Use of Corporate Social Responsibility Arguments in Communication Campaigns: Does Source Credibility Matter?

Valerie Swaen, Catholic University of Louvain and IESEG School of Management
Joelle Vanhamme, Erasmus University Rotterdam-ERIM
EXTENDED ABSTRACT - More companies than ever engage in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities. Recent research in marketing, however, shows that communicating about CSR activities does not necessarily result in positive business effects for companies (Sen and Bhattacharya 2001). Furthermore, it seems that companies that are doing the most in the area of CSR are also the ones that are criticized the most (S.E.E. Newsletter 2001). In this context, some companies are afraid of communicating about their CSR activities. Moreover, consumers tend to be increasingly skeptical about sources of information controlled by companies (Elliot et al. 1993). These issues raise the question of the influence of the type of source used to communicate about CSR (i.e., influence of its perceived credibility) and of the long-term profitability of CSR communication.
[ to cite ]:
Valerie Swaen and Joelle Vanhamme (2005) ,"The Use of Corporate Social Responsibility Arguments in Communication Campaigns: Does Source Credibility Matter?", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 32, eds. Geeta Menon and Akshay R. Rao, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 590-591.