Employee Participation in Cause-Related Marketing Strategies: A Study of Management Perceptions from British Consumer Service Industries

Liu, Gordon; Liston-Heyes, Catherine and Ko, Wai-Wai (2010). Employee Participation in Cause-Related Marketing Strategies: A Study of Management Perceptions from British Consumer Service Industries. Journal of Business Ethics, 92(2) pp. 195–210.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-009-0148-3

Abstract

The purpose of cause-related marketing (CRM) is to publicise and capitalise on a firm’s corporate social performance (CSP) by enhancing its legitimacy in the eyes of its stakeholders. This study focuses on the firm’s internal stakeholders – i.e. its employees – and the extent of their involvement in the selection of social campaigns. Whilst the difficulties of managing a firm that has lost or damaged its legitimacy in the eyes of its employees are well known, little is understood about the extent to which managers and their social partners listen to and involve their employees in the legitimation process. Through telephone interviews with non-profit organisations and senior managers of service sector firms, the extent of employee involvement in CRM campaigns and the perceived benefits of doing so are investigated. Amongst other things, we find that (i) the extent of employee participation varies significantly across firms; (ii) larger CRM campaigns tend to be managed centrally with relatively less employee participation than smaller ones and (iii) financial services firms are more likely to make CRM decisions centrally, with relatively less employee participation than retail services firms.

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