Managerial perception of the impact of corporate social responsibility on corporate branding in Indian agribusiness firms

Raj, Anup (2016) Managerial perception of the impact of corporate social responsibility on corporate branding in Indian agribusiness firms. Doctoral thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

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This study explores the managerial perception regarding the influence of CSR on corporate branding in the Indian agribusiness context. This thesis relies on CSR theories and brand management models and follows a qualitative case methodology. The study contributes to existing knowledge by focusing on the motives of Indian agribusiness firms to get involved in CSR practices and the means through which such practices influences branding. The study focuses on three key elements of corporate branding of Indian agribusiness - corporate image and reputation, corporate culture and corporate communication. The research draws on thematic analysis of 28 responses from semi-structured interviews of practicing managers in branding, marketing and CSR domains of four large agribusiness firms in India. The results reveal that though CSR practices does not influence corporate branding strategy of agribusiness firms significantly, firms do have implicit motive of branding while pursuing CSR. Firms primarily do CSR for operational reasons such as for removing the operational and legal hurdles for smooth functioning of the manufacturing plant and business which is an explicit motive of CSR. The other explicit motives are ‘community development’ and ‘philanthropy’. The study indicates that agribusiness firms use CSR practices to gain support of the local community for smooth operation of their business or at the time of crisis. The results illustrate that, CSR positively influences corporate image and reputation and thereby objectively influences corporate branding of Indian agribusiness firms. Other aspects of the study divulge that CSR has limited influence on advertising and communication programs because advertising of CSR is not common in India due to cultural and cost issues. However, promotion and internal communication of CSR initiatives are adequately done within the organisations. Moreover, the study also elucidates that firms possessing a corporate culture which gives importance to environmental sustainabilityare more likely to adopt CSR in their future brand strategy than firms which possess a corporate culture that is largely driven by market forces and competition.

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