Assessing the effect of customer perceptions of corporate social responsibility on customer trust within a low cultural trust context

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Social Responsibility Journal


© Emerald Publishing Limited. Purpose – Many research findings depicted corporate social responsibility (CSR) as a strategic tool for influencing customer behavior, especially customer trust. Nevertheless, rare is research that considered a business ecosystem infested by a low level of cultural trust, political and economic problems, perceived corruption and low level of CSR awareness and engagement as obstacles that may prevent companies from influencing their customers’ behavior. Therefore, this study aims to evaluate whether CSR activities positively influence consumer/user trust toward companies operating within a low-cultural-trust context and also the consistency of empirical finds on CSR regardless of the cultural context. Design/methodology/approach – The model of this study consisted of four variables: perceptions of CSR, customer trust, service quality and customer satisfaction. The target sample constituted respondents belonging to six different occupational categories namely health-care services, media services, law and public security, agriculture and earth sciences, training and education services and administrative sciences. This study used a quantitative approach based on a paper–pencil questionnaire to collect the data. Findings – The results of this study indicated that perceptions of CSR correlated positively with service quality, customer satisfaction and customer trust. The results also indicated that perceptions of CSR, service quality and customer satisfaction are good predictors of customer trust. Originality/value – This study is significant because it was conducted in a developing country (Haiti) that has long been struggling with political instability, systemic corruption, serious environmental damages and continuous economic crises and inequality along with a low level of CSR engagement and awareness.

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