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The perception of socially responsible businesses

A recently published research study attempts to correlate CSR activities and how they are assessed by companies’ end consumers

 

To obtain a fair perception according to our accomplishments, is something that applies to companies, too, especially those that have made corporate social responsibility (CSR) a central part of their activities. To be appropriately recognised, particularly by end consumers or by relevant market stakeholders at any rate, is essential, also because it conveys one’s own business ethics.

Antonella Monda and Antonio Botti investigate all aspects related to this topic in their article “I rischi della Corporate Social Responsibility per le imprese etiche e lo scetticismo del consumatore green” (“The risks of Corporate Social Responsibility for ethical businesses and the scepticism felt by green consumers”).

As described at the beginning of the article, their research centres its approach around the condition of a company involved in social issues and yet not favourably perceived by its consumers. The end goal is to ascertain whether a negative opinion of the company is also accompanied by a negative view of CSR practices.

The authors pursue a twofold aim: on the one hand, to verify the existence of a link between corporate production targets and CSR activities: a way to “substantiate the ethics of the company under discussion.” On the other hand, the identification of a potential connection between how corporate CSR activities are communicated and how these ethical pursuits are perceived by consumers.

Monda and Botti (both hailing from the Department of Business Studies – Management & Innovation Systems/DISAMIS, University of Salerno), first contextualise the theme of CSR, and then proceed to examine the case of the Ferrovie dello Stato (FS), the Italian State Railways, through an in-depth analysis of primary and secondary data. One of the conclusions they reach is that “Corporate social responsibility has very little influence on consumers’ opinion of a company; nonetheless, it’s possible that such conditioning might only relate to certain types of product sectors.” But that’s not all as, with reference to the FS, the two researchers additionally contemplate the feasibility of “conducting empirical investigations not only on service providers but also on company staff, in order to compare how managers, users and employers perceive CSR activities that have been put into practice.”

Monda and Botti’s research summarises the findings arising from an interesting CSR case study, probed in all its complex, diverse facets.

I rischi della Corporate Social Responsibility per le imprese etiche e lo scetticismo del consumatore green (The risks of Corporate Social Responsibility for ethical businesses and the scepticism felt by green consumers)

Antonella Monda, Antonio Botti

Corporate Governance and Research & Development studies – Open Access Peer Reviewed Journal, 2021