Consumers are placing increasing importance on the social responsibility of firms when making purchase decisions. Nonetheless, corporate irresponsibility has become more prevalent in the corporate world. Through corporate social responsibility (CSR), companies can showcase their virtues and appear as good citizens while ignoring many internal standards. Hence, the primary purpose of this study was to explore the impact of corporate hypocrisy on CSR belief, corporate reputation, and consumers’ attitudes toward a company that may have a bad reputation. Second, we investigated the mediating effect of CSR belief and perceived corporate reputation on the relationships between corporate hypocrisy and consumers’ attitudes toward the company. We asked a sample of respondents in Australia (n =518) to respond to a real CSR campaign launched by a beer company. The results showed that CSR belief mediates the relationship between corporate hypocrisy and consumers’ attitudes toward the company. The results indicated a perception that companies may use CSR to try to shift the blame from producers to users. The results of this study provide guidelines for managers, social marketers, and public policy makers on how to create and evaluate companies’ CSR campaigns. The results of this study contribute to the debate on how consumers respond to various CSR campaigns as well as the intended or unintended consequences of CSR in directing consumers’ attention away from the negative impacts businesses have on society.
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© 2017 Elsevier Ltd
- Corporate hypocrisy
- Corporate reputation
- Corporate social responsibility