How does corporate social responsibility create value for consumers?

Todd Green, John Peloza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

259 Scopus citations


Purpose: Research examining corporate social responsibility (CSR) demonstrates a relatively consistent level of positive support by consumers. However, CSR is poorly defined and little is known about the mechanisms by which this response occurs. This paper seeks to understand how consumers define CSR and how it can enhance the overall value proposition for consumers. Design/methodology/approach: The value typology developed by Sheth et al. is integrated with qualitative data to enhance understanding of these value paths. Interviews were conducted with consumers through the heart of the current recession, when consumers were particularly aware of value when making purchase decisions. Findings: The way in which CSR manifests itself determines consumer support. CSR can provide three forms of value to consumers: emotional, social, and functional. Each of these enhances or diminishes the overall value proposition for consumers. Further, value created by one form of CSR can either enhance or diminish other product attributes. Practical implications: The current research helps managers understand how CSR can create value for consumers. As a result, managers can better position products in order to enhance overall value. Further, practitioners can match the value with which consumers identify from CSR to the dominant value driver in their product category. Originality/value: This study highlights that CSR includes a range of activities with differential means of adding value to consumers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-56
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Consumer Marketing
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011


  • Consumer behaviour
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Qualitative research
  • Recession

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Marketing


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