Corporate social marketing (CSM) refers to "a means whereby a corporation supports the development and/or implementation of a behavior change campaign intended to improve public health, safety, the environment, or community well-being" (Kotler & Lee, 2005a, p.114). The examination of CSM by professional sport organizations (PSOs) is significant since these organizations have the potential to serve as a particularly meaningful vehicle for promoting socially beneficial ideas and behavior (Chalip, 2006; Kaufman & Wolff, 2010; Loakimidis, 2007; Smith & Westerbeek, 2007). Despite this, little investigation has been undertaken in this research area (Irwin, Irwin, Miller, Somes, & Richey, 2010; Sparvero, 2010). Furthermore, no comprehensive framework exists that explains the process of how CSM influences consumer voluntary behavior in general business disciplines (Du, Sen, & Bhattacharya, 2008).
The purpose of this study was to address this gap and investigate the role of corporate credibility in understanding the process of how PSOs influence consumer voluntary behavior through their CSM initiatives. The current research focused on corporate credibility based on previous research findings indicating that the credibility of a message source greatly influences the persuasiveness of its communication (e.g., Hovland, Janis, & Kelley, 1953; Pornpitakpan, 2004). This study developed a theoretical model positing that consumers would formulate their perceptions regarding the credibility of a PSO on supporting environmental protection ("environmental credibility") based on: (1) characteristics of the organization, (2) characteristics of the CSM initiative, and (3) characteristics of the cause. Environmental credibility, in turn, was expected to influence consumer pro-environmental behavior measured by daily recycling involvement and recycling intentions during the PSO's home games. The model further proposed that value congruence would have mediating and moderating effects on the relationship between environmental credibility and pro-environmental behavior.
To test this theoretical model, the study collected data from fans of two PSOs that currently operate environmental initiatives. Structural equation modeling (SEM) analysis was employed to analyze the data (n = 368) obtained through web-based questionnaires. The SEM results indicated that the following four of the eight hypothesized antecedents of environmental credibility had significant positive effects: general credibility, perceived effort, perceived impact, and cause importance. Furthermore, environmental credibility was found to positively influence the two recycling behaviors as expected. Contrary to the theoretical propositions, however, the results did not find support for the positive mediating and moderating effect of value congruence.
Overall, the findings of this study contribute to the literature by highlighting the role of corporate credibility when PSOs engage in CSM initiatives. Moreover, this research, as well as future endeavors, helps PSOs become an effective vehicle for promoting socially beneficial behavior, which ideally can lead to positive social change.
|Advisor:||Kent, R. Aubrey|
|Commitee:||Deckop, John R., Iwasaki, Yoshitaka, Jordan, Jeremy S.|
|Department:||Tourism and Sport|
|School Location:||United States -- Pennsylvania|
|Source:||DAI-A 72/08, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Marketing, Sports Management, Environmental Studies|
|Keywords:||Corporate credibility, Corporate social responsibility, Environmental initiatives, Pro-environmental behavior, Social impact, Social marketing, Sport industry|
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