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|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|1949||2012||12 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : International Journal of Research in Marketing, Volume 29, Issue 1, March 2012, Pages 13–24
In this paper, we argue that corporate social responsibility (CSR) to various stakeholders (customers, shareholders, employees, suppliers, and community) has a positive effect on global brand equity (BE). In addition, policies aimed at satisfying community interests help reinforce the credibility of social responsibility policies with other stakeholders. We test these theoretical contentions by using panel data comprised of 57 global brands originating from 10 countries (USA, Japan, South Korea, France, UK, Italy, Germany, Finland, Switzerland, and The Netherlands) for the period from 2002 to 2008. Our findings show that CSR toward each of the stakeholder groups has a positive impact on global BE. In addition, global brands that follow local social responsibility policies in communities obtain strong positive benefits through the generation of BE, enhancing the positive effects of CSR toward other stakeholders, particularly customers. Therefore, for managers of global brands, when generating brand value, it is particularly effective to combine global strategies with the need to satisfy the interests of local communities.
Global brands exist in multiple markets, including the financial services, telecom, and fast-moving consumer goods markets. Many firms, such as Unilever, have clearly started to focus more on building strong global brands than on building multiple (strong) local brands (Kumar, 2005). A strong corporate social responsibility (CSR) record is expected from these global brands (Holt, Quelch, & Taylor, 2004). The implementation of a CSR policy may generate a trusting relationship between the company and stakeholders that causes stakeholders to become committed to the organization through actions such as customer loyalty, stockholder capital investments, and supplier investments (Garbarino and Johnson, 1999, Maignan and Ferrell, 2004 and Sen et al., 2006). In the global marketplace, a firm's social and environmental track record and its treatment of employees are considered to be very important trust issues (Edelman, 2008). However, it is frequently stated that global brands do not have strong CSR records, and they are accused of predatory behavior (Connor, 2001). Building up CSR reputations is difficult for global brands, as global brands have to build local CSR reputations through local relationships while also demonstrating global social responsibility (Polonsky & Jevons, 2009). Moreover, the CSR practices of global brands are typically perceived as being self-interested, which may reduce their effects on brand equity (BE) (e.g., Prout, 2006 and Yoon et al., 2006). Specific examples have shown the relevance of CSR for global brands. BP's considerable problems with their local oil operations in the Gulf of Mexico near Louisiana had strong global repercussions for the global BP brand (Ritson, 2010). Coca-Cola was faced with customer protests in the UK and the USA because of what was considered to be a poor environmental record in India and allegations of human rights violations in Columbia (Hills & Welford, 2005). Moreover, the global presence of brands and their operations may even cause the CSR policies of strong, highly visible global brands to backfire. For example, Nike has sought to associate itself with the rights, needs, and aspirations of the socially disadvantaged, such as African Americans, women and the disabled through brand endorsements by athletes such as Michael Jordan (Knight & Greenberg, 2002, p. 547). However, the anti-sweatshop movement believes that Nike is hypocritical, as Nike has been accused of exploiting young female migrant workers in the developing world to produce its products and only using its promotional CSR toward boost sales (Knight & Greenberg, 2002). Similar arguments appear in the study by Wagner, Lutz, and Weitz (2009), who point out the negative reactions of consumers toward reactive CSR strategies that try to mitigate harm after an irresponsible action has been reported. The Nike case also points to a complicating issue, namely that CSR involves activities that focus on multiple stakeholders, including customers, employees, shareholders, and community in which the credibility of CSR policies will play a pivotal role in the efficient implementation of CSR initiatives. Firms, therefore, need to understand whether and how their multi-faceted CSR efforts have an impact on their global BE. Within the academic literature, there is a vast amount of research on the effects of CSR on brand performance metrics such as brand evaluations, brand loyalty and firm performance (e.g., Du et al., 2007a, Klein and Dawar, 2004, Luo and Bhattacharya, 2006 and Orlitzky et al., 2003). However, studies on CSR and global brands are scarce. Holt et al. (2004) emphasize the importance of CSR as a means of differentiation for global brands, while Polonsky and Jevons (2009) discuss global branding and CSR in a qualitative manner. In-depth case studies have described CSR issues for global brands such as Nike and Coca-Cola (e.g., Hills and Welford, 2005 and Knight and Greenberg, 2002). Research in business ethics has also discussed the relevance of CSR toward global firms and has considered research on CSR from a global perspective (e.g., Arthaud-Day, 2005, Manakkalathil and Rudolf, 1995 and Prout, 2006). However, we could not identify any studies that explicitly studied the relationship between a global brand's CSR efforts and global BE in an international setting. The key research question in this study concerns the investigation into the effects of CSR practices with different stakeholders on global BE, with an emphasis on the role played by credible CSR initiatives. We first investigate whether CSR efforts impact global BE. Second, we aim to assess which CSR efforts have the strongest effects on global BE. We hypothesize that CSR aimed at community and customers will have stronger effects on global BE, than CSR directed at other stakeholders. Third, we investigate the potential moderating role of CSR toward community, which confers credibility to CSR initiatives, on the impact of CSR toward different stakeholders on BE. We address these issues using panel data from 57 global brands originating in 10 countries (the US, Japan, South Korea, France, the UK, Italy, Germany, Finland, Switzerland, and The Netherlands), as included in the 2002–2008 Sustainalytics Global Profile (SGP) database. Each firm's CSR profile contains items that address major stakeholder issues. We complement the database with global BE information obtained from Interbrand. Our econometric approach allows us to assess potential long-term effects through the inclusion of a lagged BE term in our model. Hence, we also discuss potential long-term effects of CSR on global BE. The contributions of this study are threefold. First, although prior theoretical arguments justify the connection between CSR and BE, we provide the first empirical study addressing this issue at an international level. Second, this study explicitly examines the differential effects of CSR efforts with different stakeholders on global BE, in which we specifically focus on the important role of CSR efforts to community and customers. Last, we contemplate the interaction effects between community satisfaction and different CSR dimensions in the generation of brand value. The remainder of this paper is organized as follows. We will first discuss our theoretical underpinnings and the derived Hypotheses. Then, we will describe our data and the econometric model used. The modeling results are discussed subsequently and we end with a conclusion, a consideration of managerial implications, and a discussion of our research limitations and resulting future research directions.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
4.1. Discussion of results In this paper, we analyze the effect of different dimensions of a firm's corporate social responsible (CSR) policy on the creation of global brand equity (BE). Studying CSR for global brands is highly relevant, as global brands are frequently blamed for not having strong CSR records. Our study, using a longitudinal database of 57 global brands in various industries and 10 different countries, shows the strong effects of CSR initiatives directed at different stakeholders on global BE. Below, we discuss our most important results and reflect on the implications for the management of global brands. First, we find that CSR positively affects global BE. This result is an important extension of the previous literature on CSR, as it is the first study to actually show this effect in an international setting. This result confirms prior studies showing that CSR affects firm performance (e.g., Luo and Bhattacharya, 2006, Margolis and Walsh, 2003 and Orlitzky et al., 2003). Moreover, we also show that CSR directed at stakeholders generates a positive effect on both short-term and long-term BE values. Second, CSR toward community and toward customers does not have a significantly larger effect on a firm's global BE than the other CSR efforts. However, the combination of both CSR policies (toward customers and toward community) does have a larger impact on BE than CSR toward other stakeholders. These results do not confirm that CSR initiatives that are more visible or credible in the marketplace have a greater effect on BE. Nevertheless, they do confirm that joint CSR initiatives combining visibility (customers) and credibility (community) have a stronger effect on a marketing metric such as global BE than other combinations. This result confirms claims made by Wood and Jones (1995) that there should be a match between the CSR initiative and the outcome measure. The insignificance in the differences of our findings on the direct effects for the different stakeholders can potentially be attributed to the relatively small number of firms in our sample. Beyond that, we may argue that “internal” stakeholders such as employees and suppliers are as important as community and customers, given that they provide the type of valuable, intangible resources that are the basis of a firm's competitive advantage, which, in turn, enhance a firm's BE. Another explanation might be that, as already noted, CSR visibility can also have some negative effects, as it may cause a stronger salience of the firm's self-benefitting motives for CSR (Yoon et al., 2006). These possible negative effects are why it is particularly important to combine visible CSR (directed at customers) with credible CSR (directed at community). Third, the importance of CSR toward communities is emphasized by the interaction effects that have been found with CSR toward community and CSR initiatives toward other stakeholders and particularly toward customers. These results point to the indirect beneficial effect of CSR toward community. The satisfaction of community interests gives credibility to a firm as an entity with an ethical stance to all stakeholders (Godfrey et al., 2009). Gaining such a reputation has its own direct value, particularly to global brands. In the event of shock-generating controversies in parts of the organization, a gained reputation in social issues may prevent the growth of a negative image throughout the organization, which could seriously damage a global brand image. The indirect effect of CSR toward community is a reinforcing mechanism (positive moderator), in terms of its positive impact on BE in satisfying all stakeholders' interests. Such a reinforcing mechanism reflects the trust that arises from firms applying credible CSR practices toward secondary stakeholders (Logsdon & Wood, 2002). Furthermore, connections to distant stakeholders are more informative than connections to closer stakeholders in assessing a firm's credibility on its ethical stance (Granovetter, 1983). Therefore, a global brand that has gained trust through its relationship with community will be capable of lending confidence to all its stakeholders regarding its long-term commitment, which in turn will have a positive effect on its short-term and long-term BE values. Finally, we argue that for the large and complex organizations that are behind global brands, information asymmetries and the need for monitoring are particularly important (Zajac & Westphal, 1994). In this framework, the implementation of credible CSR policies such as those targeted toward community will reduce opportunistic behaviors that emerge in information asymmetry contexts. The result is a creation of brand value. 4.2. Managerial implications Our findings provide several implications for managers. First, we demonstrate that global brand managers should indeed incorporate CSR as a primary component of their brand equity-enhancing strategy, as Polonsky and Jevons (2009) suggest. Second, managers who wish to send visible and credible signals of commitment to enhance their firms' global BE value should pay particular attention to the less salient stakeholders. That is, global brand management should give substantial weight to satisfying local community interests. To illustrate the importance of focusing on CSR for global brands and specifically the strong effects of CSR toward community, we have performed an analysis of the economic consequences of improving different CSR components. In economic terms, when we do not consider interaction effects, the marginal impact of CSR toward customer on BE is given by the coefficient (α2 = 0.518, p < 0.01). However, when we consider interaction effects with community, once we fix CSR toward community at its mean value of the distribution (58.16), the marginal effect of CSR toward customers on BE is given by the coefficient (α2 + α6 × Mean(Community) = 0.518 + 0.004 × 58.16 = 0.751, p < 0.01). These coefficients indicate that an increase in one standard deviation in customer satisfaction (0.227) leads to an increase in $1752.24 million in BE,22 or an 11.76% increase from the mean value of BE ($14,900 million), without considering interaction effects. This figure increases to 17.04% ($2538.96 million) when we include the moderation of community, which means that the moderating effect of community is translated to a relative increase of 44.90% ($786.72 million) in BE value. When we apply the same type of analysis to corporate governance, the numbers are a 9.57% increase when we do not consider interaction effects and a 12.20% increase ($1817.8 million) when we consider interaction effects and fix community at its mean value. For employees, the increase is 8.09% when we do not consider interaction effects and 9.78% ($1457.22 million) when we consider interaction effects. Finally, for suppliers, the figures are 9.84% and 12.46% ($1856.54 million), respectively. Thus, the variations in the different CSR dimensions lead to considerable economic variations in BE and particularly when community moderates CSR toward customers. Therefore, global brands that aim to improve their BE with CSR should develop CSR initiatives toward communities that reinforce CSR initiatives with other stakeholders. CSR initiatives toward the local community can be especially valuable, as they may integrate with existing global brand strategies. Specifically, firms can pursue a dual strategy of creating a global brand and developing symbols at a local level (Alden et al., 2006) through the satisfaction of local community interests. This type of strategy is followed by firms such as Coca-Cola and Heineken, which are perceived simultaneously as global brands and as firms with strong roots in different national communities (Alden et al., 2006). Third, the relevance of CSR for global brands also has implications for their merger and acquisition strategies. Global brands that expand internationally and wish to create certain standards of CSR policies abroad should acquire firms with strong community roots. In short, global brand managers need to be aware that local satisfaction is at the root of improving global BE value. Such a strategy would eliminate fears of corporate expropriation by entrant firms in less developed countries. Lastly, one final implication is that managers should not focus on single-stakeholder CSR policies, particularly managers of global brands. These multinational enterprises (MNEs) should be particularly conscious of maintaining a balance among different stakeholders in the generation of BE. Managers of global brands should not put excessive weight on market-oriented stakeholder-like customers. Brands are complex social phenomena, and thus, managers who wish to sustain CSR policies that create global BE value should maintain a balance among the different stakeholders rather than focus on a single stakeholder (Maio, 2003). That is, all components of CSR have a positive impact on global brands. 4.3. Limitations and future research avenues One of the limitations of our study is that the MNEs analyzed are based in developed countries, which may question the generalizability of the results. Moreover, the use of the Interbrand measure, which focuses on strong (global) brands, strengthens this problem. However, the measurement approach of Interbrand, which is not based on customer surveys but on proprietary information, may open the possibility of extracting information from subsidiaries of MNEs operating in less developed countries. Nevertheless, we may speculate that the effect of establishing socially responsible policies in developing countries is a powerful signal of MNE commitment to stakeholders, and we may expect that the effect on BE should be even clearer in developed countries. Further research should be extended to developing countries and emerging economies, e.g., Turkey, Brazil, and China (Burgess & Steenkamp, 2005). A second limitation is the dichotomous items used in the definition of the proxies on social responsibility to the different stakeholders. We have minimized this problem by averaging a broad set of items to obtain a continuous-type variable. Our findings reveal that satisfying community interests is highly relevant to creating and maintaining global brand value. A natural extension of our model would be to incorporate virtual communities into the analysis to determine whether the reinforcing effects linked to real communities also hold for these types of communities. Another avenue would be to include other stakeholders in the analysis. For example, research could assess whether the crucial role of CSR toward one secondary stakeholder (community) differs from that toward other secondary stakeholders, such as the environment. The absence of environment-related CSR in our measurement of CSR is a limitation. Hills and Welford (2005) discuss the relevance of the environmental issue for Coca-Cola, suggesting the potential relevance of this CSR issue in a global branding context. This relevance is confirmed indirectly in our analysis, given that some items in community score refer to environmental issues. Finally, a contingency analysis of the economic cycle would be of interest. Following existing research on the consequences of the economic cycle (e.g., Lamey, Deleersnyder, Dekimpe, & Steenkamp, 2007), it is of crucial importance to understand whether and which CSR policies become more or less relevant during economic recessions. Moreover, it would also be relevant to investigate whether the global BE of brands that have invested in CSR is less affected by, or may even benefit from, strong market crises such as the recent financial crisis. Initial case-based evidence in the Dutch banking market suggests that the cooperative Rabobank, which has clear local community CSR initiatives, has been less affected by the global crisis (Verhoef, Wesselius, Bügel, & Wiesel, 2010). Future research could investigate this issue empirically.