University of Twente Student Theses


The relationship between the framing of a company's CSR notice and consumers' perceptions of the company

Hölscher, Kira (2022) The relationship between the framing of a company's CSR notice and consumers' perceptions of the company.

[img] PDF
Abstract:Purpose: The importance of a thoughtfully developed corporate social responsibility strategy has been demonstrated well over the last decade, both in academic literature as well as in practical cases. Companies are increasingly expected to behave responsibly, and CSR has been shown to significantly influence corporate outcome variables such as consumers’ impression of the brand, perceived credible CSR behaviours, as well as overall authenticity. However, there is a paradox between the rising demand for CSR and the scrutinization of CSR activities. If the CSR activity or the communication thereof is deemed not acceptable by target groups and stakeholders, the organization will have to face detrimental outcomes. The purpose of this research is to provide further insights into the aspects of CSR communication that provide beneficial outcomes, as well as close a surprising research gap by including a human interest frame into CSR communication. This study aims to explore how three aspects of CSR communication (centrality, level of impact, and human interest) might influence consumers’ impression of the brand, their purchase intention, consumer perceived corporate social responsibility, as well as perceived authenticity. Method: The study featured a 3x2 factorial between-subjects design. The experiment was conducted by means of an online survey. A total of 240 participants with ages ranging from 20 to 77 completed the study conscientiously. The collected data was analyzed by conducting reliability analyses, repeated measures analyses of variance for three dependent variables, and analyses of variance for each dependent variable to explore main and interaction effects of the independent variables. Results: The present experiment showed some surprising results. The independent variable of impact was found to have no significant effect on any of the dependent variables, demonstrating a shift from previous literature. Further, while there were some expected effects of centrality on the outcomes variables, the human interest frame showed by far the strongest results. This showed that the human interest frame is severely overlooked in CSR communication. The results regarding human interest are the most interesting, as there seems to be a strong possibility of emotional dimensions positively influencing perceived authenticity and impressions of the brand as a whole and as a socially responsible entity. Conclusion: The explorative approach within this paper provides a useful stepping stone for further consideration regarding how to optimize CSR communication. While being in line with previous literature insofar that centrality of the CSR initiative is one of the crucial and defining points affecting perceived authenticity, the study further highlights the great potential of the human interest frame in CSR communication. The positive effects of human interest on authenticity and CPCSR even surpassed the effects of centrality, demonstrating thought-provoking implications for both the theoretical knowledge, as well as practical implementation of CSR communication.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
Link to this item:
Export this item as:BibTeX
HTML Citation
Reference Manager


Repository Staff Only: item control page