Embrace negative responses from people when it comes to CSR: Study

New York, Jan 27 (IANS) Embracing negative comments and two-way communication can help corporations enhance consumers’ trust when it comes to corporate social responsibility (CSR), a study has found.

According to researchers at the University of Minnesota and Youngstown State University, people may appreciate a company for being transparent and honest rather than exaggerating its socially responsible practices.
To reach this conclusion, Hyejoon Rim from the University of Minnesota and Doori Song from Youngstown State University conducted an experiment with 124 online participants.
They examined how the public’s comments and the company’s responses affect people’s attribution of CSR motives, perceived negativity of the comments and attitudes toward a company.
After assessing the comments, the researchers concluded a potential benefit for corporations in using a two-sided message strategy (addressing both self-serving and public-serving motives of CSR campaign) to deal with the public’s scepticism toward CSR.
Also, incorporating two-sided messages to respond to negative comments may increase perceived altruism and reduce perceived negativity of reported CSR and comments, and enhance positive public attitudes toward the company, the study noted in a paper published in the Journal of Communication.
“Given that the most challenging task in CSR communication lies in enhancing perceived altruism and managing negative public comments over which the company has limited control, the findings may guide corporate communication managers to leverage CSR communication on social media,” Rim explained.