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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Here or there? Consumer reactions to corporate social responsibility initiatives: Egocentric tendencies and their moderators

  • Author(s): Russell, Dale W.
  • Russell, Cristel Antonia
  • et al.

This research examines how consumers react to corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs that vary in geographic focus. Three experiments compare consumers' patronage of a company in response to local and distant CSR initiatives. The extant egocentrism literature suggests that a CSR activity focused locally, and thus, with greater personal relevance, should increase patronage of the company responsible for the CSR activity. Indeed, this egocentric bias, exhibited in the form of increased purchase intentions or actual choices, is found across all three studies. However, these egocentric tendencies are moderated by consumers' superordinate identities. In study 1, consumers' greater intentions to patronize a company whose CSR activity is domestic vs. foreign are moderated by their sense of global identity. In study 2, consumers' increased choices of a company whose CSR activity is in their home state vs. a distant state are moderated by levels of environmental consciousness. Finally, in study 3, increased patronage of a company whose CSR activity focuses in consumers' home city vs. a distant city depends on the salience and level of consumers' superordinate group identity.

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