The Influence of Corporate Social Responsibility Efforts on the Moral Behavior of High Self-Brand Overlap Consumers

Kevin P. Newman, Merrie L Brucks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts are known to affect firm and societal outcomes, but little is known about their effects on consumer well-being. We address this research gap by investigating whether consumers who have integrated their self-schema with a brand's schema (i.e., high self-brand overlap consumers) vicariously balance their moral behavior against a brand's CSR efforts. Specifically, we propose that a brand's socially responsible behavior can negatively influence the moral behavior of high self-brand overlap consumers (vicarious moral licensing), while a brand's less socially responsible behavior can positively influence the moral behavior of these consumers (vicarious moral cleansing). Further, we do not predict or observe these effects among low self-brand overlap consumers, given their lack of psychological identification with the CSR brand. Across four experiments, we demonstrate the vicarious moral balancing effect and show process evidence for the potential role of pride (guilt) in driving vicarious moral licensing (cleansing) behaviors. Importantly, we also demonstrate two potential methods to eliminate the vicarious moral licensing effect when firms conduct CSR efforts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)253-271
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Consumer Psychology
Volume28
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2018

Keywords

  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Guilt
  • Pride
  • Self-brand overlap
  • Vicarious moral cleansing
  • Vicarious moral licensing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Marketing

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The Influence of Corporate Social Responsibility Efforts on the Moral Behavior of High Self-Brand Overlap Consumers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this