Huang's research on corporate social responsibility published in international journal
The backfire effect of corporate social responsibility (CSR) is examined in an article, co-written by Department of Business Administration Associate Professor of Marketing Lei Huang.
The article was published in the latest issue of Journal of Marketing Theory & Practice, 30(4), 494-511.
In the paper, “Not all Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is Created Equal: A Study of Consumer Perceptions of CSR on Firms Post Fraud,” Dr. Huang and his colleague, Dr. Kristina Harrison, of the University of Southern Mississippi, suggest that when firms signal sincere CSR motivations through low expected benefits and then later engage in fraud or wrongdoing, that consumers will more harshly judge a firm than if they had signaled profit-driven expectations from CSR activities and also later engaged in fraud or wrongdoing.
Through an empirical study, Huang exhibits how firms may inadvertently demonstrate corporate hypocrisy through their signaled intents. The research not only extends CSR motivation research and corporate hypocrisy, but also provides evidence of how financially signaled CSR motivations can give consumers indicators about CSR sincerity. When signaled intent is later met with inconsistent behavior, consumers infer corporate hypocrisy and worse judgments on a firm than if the firm had just signaled from the beginning that they were engaging in a CSR activity with the hopes of obtaining high expected financial benefits.