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Communicating corporate social responsibility: How fit, specificity, and cognitive fluency drive consumer skepticism and response

Rachel Esther Lim and Wei‐Na Lee

Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, 2023, vol. 30, issue 2, 955-967

Abstract: This research examined consumer responses to a company's communication of its corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives. Two prestudies verified the impact of company‐cause fit and message specificity on consumer skepticism toward CSR initiatives. These studies also showed that the resulting skepticism mediated the consumer responses. The main study explored how company‐cause fit and message specificity jointly influenced consumer skepticism and how this could be mediated by cognitive fluency. The results demonstrate that company‐cause fit and message specificity interacted and influenced consumer skepticism. In addition, cognitive fluency was found to be the key factor that explained this joint impact. These results explain how skepticism influences consumer responses to CSR. Theoretical and practical suggestions for effective CSR communication are provided.

Date: 2023
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Handle: RePEc:wly:corsem:v:30:y:2023:i:2:p:955-967