Cause-Related Marketing – Led Corporate Social Responsibility in International Business-to-Business Markets: The Contingent Roles of Host-Country Sustainable Development

Liu, Gordon; Wu, Meng-Shan Sharon; Ko, Wai Wai; Chen, Cheng-Hao Steve and Chen, Yantai (2019). Cause-Related Marketing – Led Corporate Social Responsibility in International Business-to-Business Markets: The Contingent Roles of Host-Country Sustainable Development. International Marketing Review (In Press).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1108/IMR-04-2019-0114

Abstract

Purpose:

Cause-related marketing (CRM) focuses on the use of marketing tools to publicize a firm’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities. Drawing on legitimacy theory, this study investigates the impact of CRM-led CSR in international business-to-business (B2B) markets. In particular, we examine the relationship between supplier CRM-led philanthropic CSR reputation and foreign customer business engagement in an international B2B setting. We also test how the foreign customer’s host-country sustainable development level moderates this relationship.

Design/methodology/approach

We collect and analyze dyadic data from multiple sources including 1) dyadic data from a supplier and its 90 foreign customers, 2) the supplier’s internal company records, and 3) publically available data.

Findings

We find that supplier CRM-led philanthropic CSR reputation positively affects foreign customer business engagement. Furthermore, we find that this positive relationship is stronger when host-country environments are characterized by achieving a higher level of environmental wellbeing development. In contrast, this positive relationship is weaker when the foreign customer host-country environment is characterized by achieving a higher level of economic wellbeing development.

Originality/value

We examine that impacts of CRM-led CSR in international B2B markets and differentiate the contingent roles of foreign customer host-country sustainable development in moderating such impacts.

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