Implications of Corporate Social Responsibility on Marketing Performance: A Conceptual Framework

Article excerpt

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) means firm's obligation to protect and improve welfare of the society and its organization, now as well as in future, through its various business and social actions, and ensures that it generates equitable and sustainable benefits for the various stakeholders. As such CSR can serve as an effective marketing tool to compete and sustain competitive advantage in the present fast changing, hyper competitive environment. Though there are research studies that provide the domain of CSR and its effects on the business performance but they have varied viewpoints and are inadequate. Given its broad conceptualization as such, it's really arduous to define the domain of CSR. Presently, lots of efforts are being taken to know its domain and its actual impact on the organizational performance in various settings. The present paper is an effort towards this direction. The main objective of the paper is to build grounding for analyzing the impact of CSR on various marketing performance measures through various propositions based on antecedents and consequences of business and social actions. The authors have described the antecedents of CSR from comprehensive perspective, which include organization culture, human resources, products and services, social development activities, and regulatory environment. The impacts of these activities are correlated with three marketing performance parameters namely, economic, social and relationship measures.

INTRODUCTION

The terms like corporate social responsibility, corporate social performance, strategic volunteerism, enviropreneurial marketing, and strategic philanthropy have infiltrated the mainstream business literature since long and their integration with and marketing strategy is being seen as an effective socio-marketing strategy (Turban & Greening, 1997). The Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) concept has been increasingly in picture and in demand for its greater transparency (Ogrizek, 2002) regarding organizational operation environment and performance. The organizations are being seen to show remarkable concern in undertaking social initiatives in a highly competitive environment. Further, the growth in socially responsible investments and in CSR awareness among public have led to the thinking that the successful firm of future will be the firms which will proactively balance short-term financial goals with long-term sustainable corporate brand building (Ogrizek, 2002, Stroup & Newbert, 1987 and Varadarajan & Menon, 1988).

The factors that are driving this move towards corporate social responsibility include new concerns and expectations of stakeholders, citizens, consumers, public authorities and investors, influence of social criteria in the investment decisions of individuals and institutions both as consumers and as investors, increased concern about the damage caused by economic activities to the environment, and transparency of business activities brought about by the media and modern information and communication technologies. Generally, CSR is considered as firm's obligation to protect and improve welfare of the society and its organization, now as well as in future (Staples 2004), through various business and social actions (Sen and Bhattacharya, 2001; Turban and Greening, 1997), and ensures that it generates equitable and sustainable benefits on the various stakeholders. Chakaraborty et al. (2004) have viewed CSR as a mean of achieving commercial success in ways that honors ethical values, respect people, communities and natural environment, and encompasses all those actions of the organizations which affect the society and its well being. The main fundamental embedded in CSR, according to them, is that no business corporate can act as isolated from broader issues of society. According to Ogrizek (2002), CSR is all about competing beyond technology, quality, services and price, in fact, all areas where competitive advantage is short-lived or lacking. …