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The importance of CSR initiatives in building customer support and loyalty: Evidence from Saudi Arabia

Ahmed Suhail Ajina (Prince Sattam bin Abdulaziz University, Al Kharj, Saudi Arabia)
Arnold Japutra (Department of Marketing, School of Business, University of Western Australia Business School, Perth, Australia)
Bang Nguyen (School of Business, East China University of Science and Technology, Shanghai, China) (Shanghai University, Shanghai, China)
Sharifah Faridah Syed Alwi (Brunel Business School, University of Brunel, Uxbridge, UK)
Ali H. Al-Hajla (College of Business Administrations, Taibah University, Medina, Saudi Arabia)

Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics

ISSN: 1355-5855

Article publication date: 28 February 2019

Issue publication date: 24 May 2019

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine how the perception of CSR influences different aspects of consumer behaviour, specifically focussing on the antecedents of perceived value, customer support and loyalty.

Design/methodology/approach

A total of 418 completed responses were obtained and provided the data to analyse and test the hypothesised research model. To test the hypotheses, structural equation modelling using PLS was employed.

Findings

Findings reveal that customer awareness of the current CSR initiatives to different stakeholder groups significantly influences their perceptions of what social initiatives are actually undertaken by firms for their economic, legal, ethical and philanthropic responsibility. In addition, customer views of what firms actually do in respect to social initiatives are significantly related to their level of CSR expectations. This indicates that the customers will always expect more from banks compared to what they actually do. Surprisingly, CSR perception is not directly related to customers’ loyalty, which contradicts the majority of previous studies indicating that CSR perception influences consumer behaviour.

Originality/value

This study provides an original contribution to the CSR body of knowledge, especially for developing countries where the awareness level is low. It also provides a deep understanding of the influence of CSR into consumer behaviour, as it investigates the influence of the full construct of CSR into customer loyalty. Finally, the study investigated the relationship between the perception and the expectation of CSR; this relationship has been neglected in previous studies, where either CSR perceptions or CSR expectations have been examined separately.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Conflict of interest: the authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

The study received no funding.

Ethical approval: all procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Citation

Ajina, A.S., Japutra, A., Nguyen, B., Syed Alwi, S.F. and Al-Hajla, A.H. (2019), "The importance of CSR initiatives in building customer support and loyalty: Evidence from Saudi Arabia", Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics, Vol. 31 No. 3, pp. 691-713. https://doi.org/10.1108/APJML-11-2017-0284

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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