The role of CSR perception in consumer behaviour : the influence of perceived value in Saudi banking industry

Ajina, Ahmed Suhail

May 2015

Thesis or dissertation

© 2015 Ahmed Suhail Ajina. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has received increasing attention and is thought to have a significant impact on consumer behaviour. Many businesses consider this an important factor in maintaining strong relationships with their customers. A considerable amount of attention has been given to the perception of CSR, but a number of theoretical gaps have been identified for further research. First, previous studies of CSR either explored the perception of CSR or examined the limited aspects of CSR on consumer behaviour, so there is a theoretical gap in examining the full construct of CSR on consumer behaviour. Second, the perceived value of CSR has been implicitly assumed and, therefore, neglected in previous studies. Third, only a limited number of studies have measured consumers’ CSR awareness levels before investigating consumers’ perceptions of CSR. Fourth, the majority of CSR studies examined the concept within the manufacturing industry, while studies in service industries are scant. Fifth, the majority of CSR studies examined the concept within developed countries, so there is a lack of research investigating this perception in developing countries.

This study investigated the CSR perception of socially responsible banks in Saudi Arabia and examined how this influences customer loyalty; examined the perceived value of CSR and its influence on customer loyalty; and then analysed customer CSR awareness levels and how this impacted customer support or scepticism. The dyadic nature of this study advances CSR knowledge by investigating CSR from the perspectives of both banks and customers. A mixed method approach was adapted to gather the required data. First, the CSR managers in Saudi Arabian banks were interviewed to understand their perceptions of CSR and the motives and challenges they face, and to identify the constructs necessary to examine the influence of CSR on consumer loyalty. A thematic analysis technique was employed to achieve these goals. The identified constructs included customer expectations, awareness, support, and satisfaction. The perceived value was added to these constructs because of the contradictory findings among these relationships and a lack of studies that fully examined the perceived value of CSR. Second, an online survey was conducted to examine the proposed hypotheses, and this generated a total of 418 responses. The online survey was distributed by three large databases: CSR in Saudi Arabia, Saudi Banks customers, and Saudi Abroad. The link was sent through their Facebook accounts, Twitter accounts, and email databases. An SEM-PLS technique was employed to analyse the data, and the findings were classified into three groups: descriptive, casual, and structural. The findings of this study confirmed that Saudi CSR perceptions follow Carroll’s (1979) model. It also found that Islam has an influence on the understanding of CSR. The structural analysis showed that CSR consists of two dimensions: economic and non-economic responsibilities (legal and ethical). It also showed that customers have a low level of CSR awareness, but they are willing to support responsible businesses. It also demonstrated that customers are generally neutral about dealing with socially responsible businesses, and the only value they perceive is emotional.

Two frameworks were generated from this study. First, based on the qualitative research, a presentation of banks’ CSR perceptions was developed. This framework has advanced the body of knowledge in a number of ways: it describes structural levels and relationships between the CSR domains; it identifies the key themes used to analyse CSR; it reports the complexity of CSR; it provides a blueprint for understanding how perception emerge and the implications of these new perceptions; and it draws the findings together in a holistic view. Second, based on an extensive review of literature and the extracted constructs from the qualitative study, a new conceptual model was developed. This model is one of the first to examine CSR perceptions, starting from awareness and ending with loyalty. Previous models have not explained the relationships between CSR perceptions and expectations. This study also investigated the full construct of the perceived value, which had not been investigated before. Finally, this model responded to the calls to investigate customer awareness and their support towards responsible businesses in the same context.

This study contributes to our understanding of the perception of CSR by examining the perceived value of CSR. It also contributes to the methodology by employing a mixed method research and adopting the pragmatic approach, which has not been widely used in examining CSR perceptions. The dyadic nature of this study allows the researcher to investigate the phenomenon from two different perspectives. This study is one of a few studies to employ the SEM PLS to examine the structural nature of CSR and the construct of perceived value. Finally, it provides insights for policymakers and CSR managers to better embed CSR in the Saudi banking industry.

Business School, The University of Hull
Harness, David R.; Dean, Dianne
Sponsor (Organisation)
Prince Sattam Bin Abdulaziz University
Qualification level
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