Influence of prior-held beliefs on consumers' evaluation of CSR reports

Activity: Talk or presentationConference PresentationsResearch

Regine Herbrik - Speaker

Paula Maria Bögel - Speaker

Regine Herbrik - Coauthor

Sigrid Bekmeier-Feuerhahn - Coauthor

Regine Herbrik - Coauthor

Existing studies show that consumers tend to be skeptical about CSR communication, thus limiting the positive effects companies aim to derive through CSR. Companies seem to evoke consumers’ skepticism particularly if they have a negative image beforehand. For example, previous studies from CSR show that consumers’ initial company image influence the perceived credibility of CSR information. Companies with an initially negative reputation will be perceived as less credible than companies with an initially positive image. Based on these previous findings, the purpose of this research is to gain insight into mechanisms that underlie the influence of prior-held beliefs, e.g. towards the company, on the processing and evaluation of CSR information. A qualitative study was conducted in which 21 participants received a part of the current CSR report of the company H&M. They were asked to think aloud while reading the report. Afterwards, a semi-structured interview was conducted. Preliminary data analysis shows insights into consumers’ evaluation of the CSR report based on their prior-held beliefs, e.g. the influence of media coverage about the collapse of a factory in Bangladesh on consumers’ evaluation of H&M’s CSR engagement. Practical implications for company’s CSR communication are discussed.


18. Fachtagung der Gesellschaft für angewandte Wirtschaftspsychologie - GWPs 2015: Herausforderungen begegnen – Lösungen gestalten: Praxisrelevanz und Interdisziplinarität der wirtschaftspsychologischen Forschung


Heide, Germany

Event: Conference