Publication Details

This paper was originally published as: Pomering, A & Dolnicar, S, Customers' sensitivity to different measures of corporate social responsibility in the Australian banking sector, ANZMAC CD Proceedings (Australia and New Zealand Marketing Academy Conference), Brisbane, Queensland, 4-6 December 2006.


Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has received considerable research attention over the past several decades, including a growing body of work examining consumer responses to firms’ socially-responsible initiatives. Much of this has been of an experimental design, with CSR narrowly focused on one or two dimensions of consumer goods. Findings from these studies suggest consumers will respond positively to firms’ CSR initiatives. Prior studies do not, however, provide any indications how sensitive consumers are to a range of different kinds of CSR activities. Furthermore, no studies have so far been undertaken in the context of fairly standardized services which are offered only by a small number of competitors, such as retail banking. This setting is of particular interest in Australia where members of the banking industry are leading the development of CSR. But, given the nature of the banking category, it could be assumed that consumer sensitivity and reactivity would be significantly lower than in the area of consumer goods where brands can easily be substituted by consumers at relatively low switching cost. The aim of the present study is to contribute towards filling these two research gaps by assessing the comparative sensitivity of consumers to different CSR activities in the Australian banking industry. We report positive attitudinal and behavioural intention responses, and differing levels of domain sensitivity, across a range of CSR initiatives.