Why do some corporate social responsibility programs seem to backfire? There are lots of reasons, but University of Kansas Assistant Professor Jessica Li recently published a paper that explains why some do.
Her research shows that people in some countries have distinct reactions to two companies engaging in the same behavior when one of the companies is foreign and the other domestic.
Jessica has provided us with three tips for creating a corporate social responsibility program that works.
1. Consumer attributions are key.
It is important to understand that CSR is not always perceived positively by consumers. Consumers make attributions about why a company is engaging in CSR, ant these attributions influence their attitudes and behaviors.
2. Know your audience.
Consumers with collectivistic orientation make more altruistic CSR attributions for a domestic versus a foreign firm. Thus, the same CSR behavior performed by a foreign company will be perceived less positively than if it were performed by a domestic company in countries like South Korea or India.
3. Be authentic.
It’s important to show collectivistic consumers that you genuinely care about the cause. Biases against foreign companies can be minimized if the foreign company shows that it authentically cares about the cause, such as by engaging in CSR for a long time.
There is nothing worse for a CSR professional than to invest in a program that causes a negative consumer response. The money and effort feel wasted. Despite the responsibility of the company to do good, making that good profitable makes it infinite. These tips can help companies avoid CSR disasters.
Watch the full interview with @devindthorpe here:
Devin Thorpe was a finance guy until he realized life wasn’t all about the money. As a new-media journalist and founder of the Your Mark on the World Center, Devin has established himself as a champion of social good. As a Forbes contributor, with 350 bylines and over one million unique visitors, he has become a recognized name in the social impact arena. His YouTube show, featuring over 600 celebrities, CEOs, billionaires, entrepreneurs and others who are out to change the world, has been viewed over 200,000 times.