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Customer engagement in CSR: a utility theory model with moderating variables

Wade Jarvis (UWA Business School, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia)
Robyn Ouschan (School of Marketing, Curtin University, Perth, Australia)
Henry J. Burton (Member Services, West Coast Eagles, Subiaco, Australia)
Geoffrey Soutar (UWA Business School, University of Western Australia, Crawley, Australia)
Ingrid M. O’Brien (School of Business and Governance, Murdoch University, Murdoch, Australia)

Journal of Service Theory and Practice

ISSN: 2055-6225

Article publication date: 10 July 2017




Both customer engagement (CE) and corporate social responsibility (CSR) have been linked to customer loyalty. Past studies use service dominant logic and customer value co-creation to explain this relationship. The purpose of this paper is to apply utility theory to develop and test a new theoretical model based on CSR initiative preference to understand the relationship between CE and customer loyalty to the organisation in a CSR platform.


This empirical study uses choice theory in the form of best-worst scaling, and structural equation modelling, to measure the impact of sports club members’ choice preferences for a range of CSR initiatives on their intention to engage with the initiative and subsequent loyalty to the club.


This study highlights the importance of engaging members in the CSR strategy they prefer as it enhances not only the extra value to the organisation via customer loyalty to the organisation, but also CE with the organisation. Furthermore, the study reveals age and gender impact on the relationship between CE in CSR initiatives and customer loyalty.


This study extends CE to CSR behaviours and provides empirical evidence for a unique theoretical framework of CE based on utility theory. It also highlights the need to take into account moderating variables such as customer demographics.



Jarvis, W., Ouschan, R., Burton, H.J., Soutar, G. and O’Brien, I.M. (2017), "Customer engagement in CSR: a utility theory model with moderating variables", Journal of Service Theory and Practice, Vol. 27 No. 4, pp. 833-853.



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Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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