The Effect of Corporate Social Responsibility on Consumer Attitude and Behavior in the European Fast-moving Consumer Goods Industry

Camilla Maegaard Dahl

Student thesis: Master thesis


Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has received much attention in modern literature. Companies are progressively communicating CSR initiatives to achieve favorable consumer outcomes, as the stakeholder group of consumers increasingly expect companies to be involved in social initiatives. The purpose of the current research is to contribute to existing literature with a practical exploration of the relationship between perceived CSR and customer outcomes. The research is focused on the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) industry, as it is vastly under researched despite being the industry accounting for half of all consumer goods spending. Based on existing literature, a conceptual framework is proposed with the purpose of statistically exploring the relationship between the concepts of perceived CSR, consumer-based brand equity, consumer engagement and customer loyalty. The data collection follows a quantitative approach with the use of an online questionnaire aimed at European FMCG consumers. The questionnaire data shows that consumers are generally unaware of FMCG companies’ CSR initiatives, indicating the need to alternatively communicate CSR efforts. Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) is used on the data gained from the questionnaire. The factors produced from EFA is further confirmed through Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA). SmartPLS is used to run a bootstrapping procedure to statistically test the proposed relationships. The construct of consumer-based brand equity shows low predictive accuracy and predictive relevance and is excluded from the conceptual model. The results show that perceived CSR directly affects consumer engagement and customer loyalty. Consumer engagement is further found to strengthen the relationship between perceived CSR and customer loyalty, showing perceived CSR to have an indirect effect on customer loyalty through the construct of consumer engagement. The current research contributes to existing literature by statistically testing the effect of perceived CSR on customer outcomes in the FMCG industry. Additionally, the research produces managerial suggestions on how companies in the industry can benefit from the implementation and communication of CSR initiatives.

EducationsMSc in International Marketing and Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2021
Number of pages127
SupervisorsMarija Sarafinovska