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«13TH INTERNATIONAL PUBLIC RELATIONS RESEARCH CONFERENCE “Ethical Issues for Public Relations Practice in a Multicultural World” Holiday Inn ...»

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Demographics Of the 287 responses, the majority (37.6 percent) of respondents indicated that they were between the ages of 18 and 25 (n=108). Fifty-eight respondents (20.2 percent) indicated that they were between the ages of 26 and 35, 33 respondents (11.5 percent) indicated that they were between the ages of 36 and 45, 46 respondents (16 percent) indicated that they were between the ages of 46 and 55 and 41 respondents (14.3 percent) indicated that they were 56 or older. Also, the majority (62.9 percent) of respondents indicated that they were female (n=180), and 106 respondents (37.1 percent) indicated that they were male.

Respondents were also asked to indicate marital status and if they had any children. In regards to marital status, similar amounts of respondents indicated single (n=135) and married (n=137), 47.4 percent and 48.1 percent, respectively. Only 12 respondents (4.2 percent) indicated that they were divorced, and one respondent (0.4 percent) indicated that they were widowed. Also, in regards to children, 59.4 percent of respondents (n=170) indicated that they did not have any children, and 40.5 percent (n=116) indicated that they had between one and five or more children.

The highest level of education completed and annual household income of respondents was also assessed. The majority of respondents (47.4 percent) indicated that they had completed a graduate degree or higher (n=135). Ten respondents (3.5 percent) indicated that high school was the highest level of education they had completed, 59 respondents (20.7 percent) indicated that some college was the highest level of education completed, eight respondents (2.8 percent) indicated that an associate’s or professional degree was the highest level of education they had completed, and 73 respondents (25.6 percent) indicated that the highest level of education they had completed was a bachelor’s degree. Also, in regards to annual household income, similar amounts of respondents indicated an annual household income of less than $25,000 (n=92) and an annual household income of more than $75,000 (n=90), 33.5 percent and 32.7 percent, respectively. Fifty-one respondents (18.

5 percent) indicated an annual household income of between $25,000 and $50,000, and 42 respondents (15.3 percent) indicated an annual household income of between $51,000 and $75,000.

Finally, respondents were asked if they identified with a political party, to indicate which one. The majority of respondents (n=118 or 41.3 percent) indicated that they identified with the Democratic Party. Fifty-two respondents (18.2 percent) indicated that they identified with the Republican Party, 27 respondents (9.4 percent) indicated that they identified with the Independent Party, 14 respondents (4.9 percent) indicated that they identified with an other party, and 36 262 respondents (12.6 percent) indicated that they identified with no or “none” party. Thirty-nine respondents (13.6 percent) chose “not to answer this question.” Hypothesis Study participants were asked to select from a set of advantages and disadvantages. They were asked to select all that apply to the advantages and disadvantages of purchasing products from socially responsible businesses in the next six months. The resulting beliefs and the frequencies of these beliefs can be seen in Table 1. Other advantages responses included: helps education, helps the economy, helps me, morally right, encourages other businesses to do the same, helps promote better informed citizens, helps sustain current jobs and creates new jobs. Other disadvantage responses included: limited product selection, reduced shareholder wealth, job losses, inconvenient and difficulty in identifying socially responsible businesses/products.

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Ajzen and Fishbein (1980) recommend using the least arbitrary decision rule by choosing as many beliefs as necessary to account for a certain percentage, typically 75 percent. (p. 70) Seventyfive percent of 1,604 equals 1,203, which means the first nine beliefs were used based on the sum of the first nine beliefs’ frequencies.

The strength of each belief was then measured by the assessment of salient belief strengths gathered through an initial interview process. This can be viewed as a limitation to this study because the initial interviews may or may not be indicative of the surveys being analyzed. However, only four of the belief strengths (helps the environment, helps with human/workers’ rights, helps the community and higher prices for consumers) were predicted from those ascertained through the initial interviews because the majority of survey participants selected “unsure/none” for the remaining outcome evaluations, which results in the product of the belief strength and the outcome evaluation being “neutral” or zero. In other words, the product of the outcome evaluation and belief strength would be zero because the outcome evaluations were zero. The initial interview results showed that each of the four aforementioned belief strengths can be predicted to be “moderate” (2).

Outcome evaluations were assessed by participants responses to the question “how good/bad are socially responsible businesses at the advantages/disadvantages you selected?” Participants 263 selected from the following: extremely good (3), quite good (2), slightly good (1), unsure (0), slightly bad (-1), quite bad (-2), extremely bad (-3).





Therefore, using the nine previously identified modal salient beliefs, Table 2 adds the outcome evaluations and belief strengths and takes the product of each outcome evaluation and its belief strength in order to predict attitudes.

–  –  –

Therefore, results indicate that participants have a moderately positive attitude (+10) toward purchasing products from socially responsible businesses.

The next step in Ajzen and Fishbein’s (1980) theory of reasoned action involves determining subjective norms or beliefs that important others (referents) think that participants should or should not perform the behavior in question (in this case, purchasing products from socially responsible businesses in the next 6 months). Table 3 (below) displays the results of participants’ identification of specific referents who believe they should or should not purchase products from socially responsible businesses.

–  –  –

In order to determine the subjective norm, participants were then asked to indicate their normative beliefs and motivation to comply with these referents. Other group or individual responses included: teachers, students, universities, advocacy groups, nonprofit organizations, businesses, myself and the U.S. government.

Normative beliefs were assessed by asking participants to indicate how much the referents they had selected think they should or should not purchase products from socially responsible businesses. Participants selected from the following scale: Should (3), (2), (1), (0), (-1), (-2), (-3) Should Not.

Motivation to comply was assessed by asking participants, in general, how much they want to do what the referents they selected think they should do. Participants selected from the following scale: not at all (0), slightly (1), moderately (2), strongly (3).

Therefore, using the referents identified (above, Table 3), modal normative beliefs and motivation to comply were assessed, and each referent’s modal normative beliefs were multiplied by the motivations to comply. The results of each referent’s product were then added. Table 4 shows the results of the subjective norm.

–  –  –

Therefore, it can be predicted that participants have a highly positive (+21) subjective norm or that most of their important others think they should purchase products from socially responsible businesses.

When combined, the products of the attitude (Table 2) and subjective norm (Table 4), indicate the overall intention toward the behavior (purchasing products from socially responsible businesses in the next 6 months).

Therefore, the attitude (10) is decidedly moderately positive, and the subjective norm (21) is decidedly highly positive. The average of these two numbers is 15.5, showing a positive intention toward the behavior. In so much, the high products and average of these variables show that a positive relationship exists between corporate social responsibility and consumer purchase intention.

Therefore, the H of this study is correct: Consumers are more likely to purchase products if the company that produces them is perceived to be socially responsible.

Additionally, comparisons were made among the following populations: age, gender, marital status, children, education, annual household income and political affiliation. The results of comparisons among populations and with overall results are presented in the following table (5).

265

–  –  –

Gender A significant difference exists between male and female populations in regards to subjective norms or the person’s beliefs that specific individuals or groups think he or she should or should not purchase products from socially responsible businesses and his or her motivation to comply with these referents. However, a significant difference does not exist between males and females in regards to attitude toward behavior.

In so much, both males and females have a positive attitude toward purchasing products from socially responsible businesses, which is consistent with the overall results; however, it can be determined that females are far more likely to purchase products from socially responsible businesses provided their important others think that they should based on the significant difference in subjective norms. In comparison to the overall results, females are moderately (+5.5) more likely and males are slightly (-1.5) less likely to purchase products from socially responsible businesses.

Marital Status Based on marital status, the researcher chose to only compare single and married participants (n=272) because the amount of participants in the divorced and widowed categories were not enough to represent the sample. The differences of the products indicate that married individuals are slightly 266 more likely than single individuals to purchase products from socially responsible businesses;

however, in comparison to overall results, both single and married individuals are slightly (-4.5 and respectively) less likely to purchase products from socially responsible businesses.

Income Next, based on annual household income, respondents were asked to select the option that best described their annual household income, and options were as follows: (1) less than $25,000 (n=92); (2) $25,000-50,000 (n=51); (3) $51,000-75,000 (n=42); and (4) more than $75,000 (n=90).

Results based on annual household income, in comparison to overall results, indicate results close to the overall population. Participants indicating annual household incomes less than $25,000 and more than $75,000 were both slightly more likely to purchase products from socially responsible businesses (+1.5 and +1, respectively). Participants indicating annual household incomes between $25,000 and $50,000 and between $51,000 and $75,000 were slightly less likely to purchase products from socially responsible businesses (-0.2 and -1.2, respectively).

Education In regards to level of education, the original question asked respondents to indicate their highest level of education completed, and the options are listed as follows: (1) High school (n=10);

(2) Some college (n=59); (3) Associate’s or Professional degree (n=8); (4) Bachelor’s degree (n=73);

and (5) Graduate degree or higher (n=135). Each group was analyzed, and, in comparison to overall results, participants indicating high school as the highest level of education completed were extremely more likely to purchase products from socially responsible businesses (+14). Participants indicating associate’s or professional degree and graduate degree or higher were moderately more likely than the overall results to purchase from socially responsible businesses (+9.7 and +8, respectively). Also, participants indicating some college were slightly less likely (-2.5) and bachelor’s degree were moderately less likely (-6.5) to purchase from socially responsible businesses. It is important to note that participants indicating high school education indicated the second highest subjective norm of all demographic populations, meaning this group is much more likely to purchase products from socially responsible businesses if they believe their important others think they should.

Age Age was analyzed based on participants’ selection from the following age groups: (1) age 18age 26- 35, (3) 36-45, (4) 46-55 and (5) 56+. Each group was analyzed, and, in comparison to overall results, ages 18-25, 36-45 and 46-55 were slightly more likely (+2, +2.7 and +3, respectively) to purchase products from socially responsible businesses. Interestingly, ages 18-25 were slightly less likely (-4.2), and ages 56+ were moderately more likely (+6.5) to purchase products from socially responsible businesses. Also, it is important to note that ages 56+ indicated a significantly higher subjective norm than other age groups, which indicates that this age group is much more likely to purchase products from socially responsible businesses provided their important others think that they should.

Political Affiliation Additionally, political affiliation was analyzed and produced interesting results in comparison to the results overall. Individuals indicating a political affiliation with the Democratic Party were slightly more likely (+3), individuals indicating a political affiliation with the Republican Party were slightly less likely (-2.5), and individuals indicating a political affiliation with the Independent Party were moderately less likely (-5.2) to purchase products from socially responsible businesses. The product of individuals indicating “none” for political affiliation exactly matched (15.5) the overall intent to purchase from socially responsible businesses. Most interestingly, individuals indicating a political affiliation with an “other” party were extremely more likely (+14.3) to purchase products from socially responsible businesses. This population shows the highest intent to purchase from socially responsible businesses than any analyzed in this study, but also has the highest subjective norm (52.5) than any population analyzed in this study.



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