How culture influences the effect of CSR communication on corporate attractiveness: a cross-cultural study
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- Master Thesis 
Building on previous research into the positive effects of CSR communication on corporate attractiveness, our study investigates if there are differences in this effect caused by culture. To test this relationship, students from both Norway (NHH) and the US (Gonzaga University) were chosen to participate in our study. Based on thorough research by Hofstede (1984 and 2001), Americans are believed to have a masculine culture and Norwegians a feminine culture. By including both Norwegian and American students, we were able to test if their cultural background would influence how CSR communication affected perceived corporate attractiveness. Respondents from both countries were first asked to read statements regarding a fictional company’s CSR communication that were either assertive or modestly formulated. They were then asked to evaluate statements regarding corporate attractiveness; anticipated pride, value-fit, expected treatment and general attractiveness for the communicating company. Our results show significant differences in perceived corporate attractiveness based on the interaction between nationality and treatment received, with respondents from the masculine culture (US) showing more positive attraction towards the company when proposed with assertive CSR communication, and the feminine respondents (Norwegian) being more attracted to the company if proposed with modest CSR communication. Further, we investigated the mediating effect of strategic intent through perceived self-centred motive. This was proposed as an explanatory factor for why feminine Scandinavians have been found to be more sceptical of CSR communication in previous studies. Our results show that the feminine respondents (Norwegian) do perceive more self-centred motive than the masculine respondents (US) in both treatment conditions, however they do not indicate lower corporate attractiveness as a consequence. The implication of our study is that companies need to consider the cultural affiliations of their target group in communicating CSR. To reap the greatest benefits, companies operating in feminine cultures such as Scandinavia need to communicate using modestly formulated CSR messages, while companies operating in masculine societies such as the US need to communicate assertively.