The impact of corporate social responsibility on consumer trust: the case of organic food

Authors

  • Sergio Pivato,

    1. Full Professor of Management, Assistant Professor of Management and Assistant Professor of Management, Bocconi University, Milan, Italy
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  • Nicola Misani,

    1. Full Professor of Management, Assistant Professor of Management and Assistant Professor of Management, Bocconi University, Milan, Italy
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  • Antonio Tencati

    1. Full Professor of Management, Assistant Professor of Management and Assistant Professor of Management, Bocconi University, Milan, Italy
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Abstract

A critical and notoriously elusive issue in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) research is the impact of Corporate Social Performance (CSP) on the bottom line. Instead of looking for direct correlations between social and financial performance, we hypothesize that the first result of CSR activities is the creation of trust among the stakeholders. A survey conducted on consumers of organic products provided support for our hypothesis, showing that CSP influences consumer trust and that that trust in turn influences consumers' subsequent actions. The findings further suggest that intermediate variables between CSP and Corporate Financial Performance (CFP) may best support a business case for CSR.

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