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Retailer corporate social responsibility: Shedding light on CSR’s impact on profit of intermediaries in marketing channels

Hanna Schramm-Klein (Chair for Marketing, University of Siegen, Siegen, Germany)
Dirk Morschett (Chair for International Management, University of Fribourg, Fribourg, Switzerland)
Bernhard Swoboda (Chair for Marketing and Retailing, University of Trier, Trier, Germany)

International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management

ISSN: 0959-0552

Article publication date: 11 May 2015




The purpose of this paper is to contribute to knowledge on the impact of corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities on retailers’ performance. An analysis using a comprehensive conceptualization of CSR reveals that CSR has positive implications for retailers’ firm performance and illustrates which CSR dimensions are the most important to focus on. It becomes clear that retailers must care about both downstream- and upstream-oriented CSR dimensions in the value chain. The paper highlights the impact of CSR communication activities for company success both in terms of general communication to the stakeholders and relating to in-store communications.


The authors conducted a survey among retailers. Data analysis was performed applying partial least squares structural equation modeling.


While CSR generally has positive effects on retailer performance – despite cost associated with CSR implementation, the authors show that diverse dimensions have different effects. Also, both downstream (customer-oriented) as well as upstream (suppler-oriented) activities count. Also, CSR communications, thus talking about what good a retailer does, is of high relevance.


This paper offers both theoretical implications on CSR dimensions in retailing as well as practical help for retailers on how and why to implement and communicate CSR activities.



Schramm-Klein, H., Morschett, D. and Swoboda, B. (2015), "Retailer corporate social responsibility: Shedding light on CSR’s impact on profit of intermediaries in marketing channels", International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Vol. 43 No. 4/5, pp. 403-431.



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