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Investigating the role of corporate credibility in corporate social marketing: A case study of environmental initiatives by professional sport organizations

The purpose of this study is to understand how professional sport organizations might influence consumer voluntary behavior through their corporate social marketing (CSM) initiatives by focusing on the role of corporate credibility. The study examined consumer responses to environmental initiatives by two professional sport teams, and showed that organizational and program characteristics were associated with the corporate credibility of the teams in supporting environmental protection (i.e., environmental credibility). Environmental credibility, in turn, was found to have a positive association with consumer pro-environmental behavior measured by daily recycling involvement and recycling intentions during the teams’ home games. The results further revealed that environmental credibility was more strongly associated with recycling intentions during games for respondents who were less involved in environmental issues. Together, these findings suggest that professional sport organizations can be an effective vehicle for socially beneficial behavior by increasing their credibility in CSM involvement.

In this study, researchers tested following hypothesis:

  • Hypothesis 1. General credibility has a positive association with the environmental credibility of the Professional Sport Organizations (PSO)
  • Hypothesis 2. Perceived CSR has a positive association with the environmental credibility of the PSO
  • Hypothesis 3. The perceived fit between the PSO and its support for environmental protection has a positive association with its environmental credibility.
  • Hypothesis 4. The perceived effort exerted by the PSO on its CSM initiative has a positive association with its environmental credibility.
  • Hypothesis 5. The perceived impact of the CSM initiative has a positive association with the environmental credibility of the PSO.
  • Hypothesis 6. The environmental credibility of the PSO has a positive association with pro-environmental behavior
  • Hypothesis 7. Issue importance negatively moderates the relationship between environmental credibility and pro-environmental behavior; environmental credibility has a weaker (stronger) association with pro-environmental behavior for consumers who are more (less) involved with environmental issues.

The study presented here contributes to this line of work by highlighting the role of corporate credibility when sport organizations engage in such activities. Moreover, this study, as well as future endeavors, helps sport organizations become an effective vehicle for promoting socially beneficial behavior, which ideally can lead to positive social change.

Link: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1441352311000933

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