Feeling Connected to the Cause: The Role of Perceived Social Distance on Cause Involvement and Consumer Response to CSR Communication

Yujin Heo, Chang Won Choi, Holly Overton, Joon K. Kim, Nanlan Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite the importance of companies’ corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts to support the issue of empowering women, little is known about which communication strategies are effective for a successful CSR initiative. This research investigated how CSR messages influences consumer evaluations of a CSR activity supporting women’s empowerment via consumers’ cause involvement by conducting two experimental studies. In Study 1, a 2 (CSR message type: in-group vs. out-group) × 2 (gender: female vs. male) online factorial experiment (n = 140) was employed. The results indicate that consumers evaluated the CSR activity more positively when they were exposed to an in-group message than an out-group message. To increase the validity and explain the process by which CSR message types influence consumer evaluations of a CSR activity, Study 2 was conducted. Psychological distance manipulated by CSR campaign messages increased an individual’s level of cause involvement, which in turn influenced the individuals’ response to the CSR activities. Implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournalism and Mass Communication Quarterly
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication

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