Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Granting Department

Marketing

Major Professor

Anand Kumar

Keywords

Corporate giving, Gratitude, Philanthropy, Psychological distance, Reciprocity, Volunteerism

Abstract

This dissertation examines the potential for two forms of corporate philanthropy, donations of time and money, to have differential effects on consumers' response to corporate giving. Drawing upon indirect-reciprocity theory I show that corporate donations of time compared to money elicit a greater desire to reciprocate on the part of consumers. It is found that the influence of corporate donations on consumers' desire to reciprocate occurs through serial mediation, whereby donations of time are perceived as being more effortful than monetary donations. This in turn leads to more altruistic motive attributions, and ultimately greater admiration towards the firm and a stronger desire to reciprocate on the part of consumers. I find that consumers' desire to reciprocate is strengthened when the relative cost to the firm for making a donation is higher. Additionally, this research advances the emotion gratitude as a mechanism through which corporate giving leads to a desire to reciprocate and more broadly, a catalyst through which indirect reciprocity occurs. Finally, the influence of consumers' personality traits on their response to corporate philanthropy is examined. Corporate donations of time and money lead to stronger feelings of gratitude and a greater approval of a company's philanthropic actions when consumers possess higher levels of empathetic concern. Conversely, consumers who embody narcissistic traits are significantly less inclined to experience feelings of gratitude or approve of a company's philanthropy.

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