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Calidad Revistas Científicas Españolas
Author / Nuria VILLAGRA Professor of Brand Management and Corporate Communication. Complutense University of Madrid. Communication School. 28040 Madrid
Author / Miguel A. M. CÁRDABA Associate Professor. Area of Communication. Villanueva University Center. Complutense University of Madrid. Spain.
Author / José A. RUIZ SAN ROMÁN Associate Professor. Department of Sociology VI. School of Communication. Complutense University of Madrid. Spain.
More authors:  1 2 3
Article / Communicating Corporate Social Responsibility: re-assessment of classical theories about fit between CSR actions and corporate activities

Abstract /

The literature on effective communication of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) paints a complex and occasionally contradictory picture of the role of alignment between corporate activities and CSR actions, classically termed “corporate fit”. Some authors highlight the importance of such alignment for effective communication of CSR, whereas other authors suggest that such fit can engender skepticism and public behaviors that harm the company. In addition, more recent work suggests the importance of “personal fit”, which refers to alignment between CSR actions and what receivers of the CSR communication consider to be personally relevant. In order to clarify this complex picture, we randomly assigned 86 young people to three groups: one was exposed to CSR communication showing corporate fit, another to CSR communication showing personal fit, and the third to control (non-CSR) communication. In contrast to what the literature might predict, we found that the CSR message with corporate fit was as persuasive as the control message for convincing subjects to rate the company as sincere and honest and to be willing to sign a declaration in favor of the company. The message with personal fit led to higher ratings of sincerity and honesty, as well as greater willingness to sign the declaration. These results suggest the need to re-assess the role of classical corporate fit in the communication of CSR actions, and they raise the possibility that other types of fit exist and may even be stronger determinants of the effectiveness of CSR communication.

Keywords /

Corporate social responsibility, corporate communication, fit, personal fit communication effectiveness, persuasion

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