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Abstract

We approach Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as a process in which particular CSR activities impact on consumers’ store evaluation and trust. We hypothesize that consumers classify CSR activities along two dimensions: (1) the beneficiary of the activity and (2) the intrinsic contribution of the retailer, implying that consumers are interested in who reaps the benefits of the activity and how much the retailer invests in the activity. This conceptualization is confirmed in two field studies with 823 and 486 consumers. These field studies also show that consumers who perceive more CSR have more trust in the store and that their overall evaluation of the store is higher. Furthermore, it is shown that even though CSR affects both outcomes, the effect on trust is stronger than the effect on store evaluation. Our research indicates that CSR is particularly suited to build trust. Economic activities, on the other hand, are better for obtaining a good store evaluation.

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