Developing CSR and CSR communication: Brazilian and Dutch consumers’ attitude towards CSR (communication) through different communication channels.

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Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is establishing itself as a worldwide phenomenon and companies use CSR communication as a marketing tool to improve their corporate image and revenues. In recent years, the field of CSR communication has identified differences (e.g. CSR expectations, value given to CSR) between consumers from developing and developed countries in that consumers from developed countries are more critical of CSR programs and expect more of companies to engage in CSR. Cross-cultural CSR studies on countries at a different economic stage have been relatively few and there has been no research on the effectiveness of different communication channels for CSR communication. In this study, the differences between a dyad of countries (i.e. Brazil / the Netherlands) was analyzed cross-culturallyregarding the attitudes of consumers towards CSR while also examining the effectiveness of communication channels (i.e. traditional media / social networking sites (SNSs)). The study consisted of a between-subject design in which 87 Brazilian and 96 Dutch respondents took part. Respondents completed an online survey in which they answered questions regarding a fictitious corporate message that used an advertorial in a printed magazine or a tweet sequence. The results showed that Brazilian sample had higher expectations for CSR engagement by companies and valued CSR more than the Dutch sample did. Further, the Dutch sample evaluated the corporate image better and trusted the fictitious company more than the Brazilians sample did. In addition, the use of traditional media or SNSs did not differ for company image, perceived trustworthiness and perceived transparency. An implication from the current study is that, in contrast to previous research, consumers from developing countries may have higher expectations regarding CSR practices by companies and value CSR more than consumers from developed countries. A possible direction for future research is identifying if national cultural characteristics are comparable to attitudes in certain consumer groups.
Faculteit der Letteren