The purpose of this paper is to determine whether consumers’ attitude toward sporting goods retailers depends on who engages in corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities and where CSR takes place. The study aims to replicate previous findings on football teams (Kulczycki and Koenigstorfer, 2016) for for-profit sporting goods retailers by looking at how organization size and proximity of the supported cause to the retailers’ headquarters interact with consumers’ motive attributions for CSR (philanthropic vs profit).
In total, 200 participants took part in the experimental study. The study applied a between-participant design manipulating both the proximity of the supported social cause (local vs distant CSR) and the size of the organization (small- vs large-sized organization) and measured perceived motives for CSR as independent variables. Attitude toward retailers was the dependent variable.
The results of regression analyses showed that perceived philanthropic motives increased attitude toward retailers. This relationship became stronger for large-sized sporting goods retailers, in particular when they engaged in CSR activities at distant locations. For small-sized retailers, the proximity of CSR did not impact on the relationship between motive attribution and attitude toward the retailer.
Large-sized retailers are encouraged to take particular care that consumers perceive CSR activities as philanthropy-driven, especially when supporting social causes at distant locations.
The study replicates previous findings and shows that not only for sports teams, but also for sporting good retailers, CSR can increase consumer attitudes even when the consumer population at the organization headquarters’ location does not directly benefit from CSR.
Kulczycki, W., Mikas, S. and Koenigstorfer, J. (2017), "Where to engage in CSR? The influence of social cause proximity on attitude toward small-sized (vs large-sized) sporting goods retailers", Sport, Business and Management, Vol. 7 No. 5, pp. 497-514. https://doi.org/10.1108/SBM-10-2016-0065
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