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Marketing and corporate social performance: steering the wheel towards marketing's impact on society.

Faculty Advisor




marketing metrics, marketing and society, corporate social performance, social responsibility, stakeholders

Abstract (summary)

Purpose The purpose of this paper is to provide a conceptual basis and to suggest methodological approaches for a shift in research efforts at the crossroad of marketing and corporate social responsibility (CSR). As such, we build on theoretical developments in marketing and offer a research agenda for bridging theory and empirical research. Design/methodology/approach This is a conceptual paper that presents theoretical developments in marketing and a review of empirical literature on marketing and CSR. Based on those, a gap between developments in marketing theory and empirical literature is identified and three future research streams are elaborated. Findings Currently there is a curious divide in the marketing literature: while marketing theory is shifting towards a view of the customers in their different roles in society and co-creation of value, the performance metrics used in empirical research are almost exclusively focused on the company. A review of the literature reveals that the majority of the research on the topic has focused on how CSR and socially responsible behavior will impact corporate financial performance. We contend that we should turn to examining social performance marketing metrics in their own legitimacy, whether or not they might prove further to be connected to financial performance. Limitations The study is framed within the marketing literature and as such has the inherent limitation of incorporating mainly literature from this domain. Implications We need to shift the wheel and focus towards how the firm's marketing and CSR efforts affect society. Measuring the impact of CSR on firm-related financial outcomes does not give us an indication of the social impact of companies' CSR activities. Contribution By identifying a clear divide between recent developments in marketing theory and the empirical literature at the crossroad of marketing and CSR, this paper focuses the attention on the need to develop marketing metrics that reflect the social impact of companies' CSR activities. The authors develop three future research streams that are suggested as a way of bridging the gap between theory and empirical efforts, and propose methodological approaches for each of the three streams. It is hoped that this will help shift research efforts towards measuring the social impact of CSR activities, instead of just the company impact.

Publication Information

Pergelova, Albena, and Fernando Angulo-Ruiz (2013), “Marketing and Corporate Social Performance: Steering the Wheel towards Marketing’s Impact on Society,” Social Business, 3 (3), 201-224.


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