Although companies are devoting significant resources to corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives, insights into the optimal formulation, implementation, and effectiveness estimation of CSR strategies are currently scarce. This article takes an indepth look at when, why, and how CSR works from a consumer's perspective. In contrast to the simple, monotonie relationships between CSR and consumer purchase behavior evident in marketplace polls, this article proposes a more complex, contingent model of consumer responses to CSR. It articulates both the internal outcomes (e.g., awareness, attitudes, attachment) and external outcomes (e.g., word of mouth, purchase, loyalty) of CSR initiatives for not just the company, but also the consumer and the CSR issue/cause. This article delineates the key factors that are likely to moderate the extent to which the inputs lead to the internal outcomes and the internal outcomes lead to the external ones. This framework can help guide companies in not only formulating and implementing their CSR initiatives, but also measuring the effectiveness of these initiatives.
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