Corporate Social Responsibility and Consumer Purchase Behavior: The Moderating Role of Self-~Presentation

Mandy May Walsh


In recent years, companies have experienced increasing pressure to integrate corporate social responsibility (CSR) into their organizational structure. The relationship between a company's investment in CSR and overall revenue, however, is still under debate in the current literature as research has focused on correlations and consumer purchase intentions (e.g., Auger, Burke, Devinney, & Louviere, 2003; Dutta & Singh, 2013; Klein & Dawar, 2004; Maignan, 2001; Mohr & Webb 2005; Mohr, Webb, & Harris, 2001; Nanda, 2015; Wigley, 2008). Findings from previous studies have not yet assessed actual purchase behavior or potential moderating variables impacting this relationship. Therefore, this dissertation examined the moderating role of self-presentation on the relationship between corporate social responsibility (CSR) and consumer purchase decisions. To test the moderating role of self-presentation, two studies were conducted. Study one examined the effects of an experimental manipulation designed to either increase or decrease the salience of self-presentation concerns on overall purchase intentions. Results showed the manipulation of the salience of self-presentation concerns (e.g., high, low) did not produce differences in participants’ perceived price fairness, value, benefit, or purchase intention. Study two examined the relationship between participants' actual self-presentation strategies and actual purchase behavior. The results from study two revealed a strong association between the two variables. While the hypothesis was only partially supported, these findings provide valuable insight into a potential variable moderating the relationship between CSR and consumer purchase decisions.