Collectivistic consumers make more altruistic (but not egoistic) attributions for domestic (vs. foreign) companies, while individualistic consumers make similar altruistic (and egoistic) attributions for domestic and foreign firms.
To better understand the underexplored relationship between cultural orientation and CSR effectiveness, the current research proposes a conceptual framework to explain when and why cultural orientation influences perceptions of CSR. Consumers with collectivistic orientation (but not individualistic orientation) will make more positive CSR attributions for a domestic vs. a foreign firm because of in-group favoritism, but there will be no difference on negative CSR attributions because out-group derogation requires more justification.
We conducted three cross-country studies. In Study 1, we recruited participants using MTurk from India and Canada. In Studies 2 and 3, we recruited students from South Korea (collectivists) and the United States. (individualists). We controlled for pro-in-group (i.e., ethnocentrism, national identity) and pro-out-group (i.e., cosmopolitanism) factors and used an ANCOVA with corporate nationality and cultural orientation (collectivists vs. individualists) as predictors to test their joint effect on consumer attributions and attitudes.
Collectivistic consumers in India (South Korea) made more altruistic attributions for domestic (vs. foreign) firms but did not make more egoistic attributions for foreign (vs. domestic) firms. However, such a difference did not exist for individualistic consumers (i.e., Canada and the United States). Altruistic attribution subsequently enhanced favorable attitudes toward the firm. However, longer CSR duration (commitment) attenuated the altruistic attribution and positive attitude bias against foreign firms displayed by collectivistic consumers.
This study provides practical implications for international marketers and suggest culture-specific strategies for CSR in collectivism-dominant regions of the world (e.g., Asia). It is important for foreign companies to make an effort to position themselves in a way that enhances their in-group image. For example, many MNCs have indeed developed localized brand names such as Coca-Cola (Kekoukele), Reebok (Rui Bu), and BMW (Bao Ma), which may help reduce intergroup bias and consequently help their CSR programs be more effective.
Questions for the Classroom
Does cultural orientation affect consumer attributions for CSR?
Does firm nationality matter in the success of the firm's CSR programs?
Do international marketers need to develop culture-specific strategies for CSR in foreign markets?
Jungsil Choi, Young Kyun Chang, Yexin Jessica Li, and Myoung Gyun Jang (2016), “Doing Good in Another Neighborhood: Attributions of CSR Motivations Depend on Corporate Nationality and Cultural Orientation,” Journal of International Marketing, 24 (4), 82-102.
Jungsil Choi is Assistant Professor of Marketing, Cleveland State University (e-mail: email@example.com).
Young Kyun Chang is Assistant Professor of Management, Sogang University (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Yexin Jessica Li is Assistant Professor of Marketing, University of Kansas (e-mail: Jessica.Li@ku.edu).
Myoung Gyun Jang is a PhD Candidate, Sogang University (e-mail: email@example.com).