University of Oulu

Impact of covid-19 pandemic on corporate social responsibility : the effect of altered consumer behavior

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Author: Rojo, Sami1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Oulu Business School, Department of Marketing, Marketing
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 3.3 MB)
Pages: 152
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : S. Rojo, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-05-11
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Tutor: Juntunen, Jouni Tapani
Reviewer: Juntunen, Jouni Tapani
Komulainen, Hanna Janina


Corporate social responsibility is increasingly emerging and discussed topic amongst both scholars and corporations. As the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has forced both organizations and consumers alike to reshape their habits and behavior, the impact on CSR was seen inevitable. However, the studies and literature related to consequences of COVID-19 were not thoroughly studied. This creates a need for examining the impact of the pandemic on consumer behavior, in order to study how it affects the topic of CSR. The purpose of this thesis is to gain important knowledge as to how consumer behave towards corporations implementing CSR, focusing on the alterations caused by the current crisis.

The theoretical framework of this research is formed around concept of CSR, consumer behavior and COVID-19 pandemic. The existing literature related to CSR emphasizes the role of Carroll’s pyramid, triple bottom line, and the sustainable development goals of the UN. The framework utilizes consumer behavior from the perspective of attributes, influences, and consumer decision-making process. The COVID-19 pandemic was added to both these themes to offer the theory with current situation and timeliness, so that the impact could be studied.

To collect data for the empirical analysis, a 27-question survey was formulated, utilizing both structured and open-ended questions. This survey was targeted at Business School students and graduates in Finland, receiving 202 responses. In order to analyse this data, the researcher utilized both quantitative statistical analyses and qualitative content analysis. This was to gain more insights to the topic than either of the methods could individually provide. The analyses showed which consumer behavior and CSR attributes the respondents are favouring in terms of their consumption habits, information search, consumer decision-making process, and which kind of responsibilities, actions, and motives they assessed as the most important factors in terms of implementing CSR. Additionally, the qualitative content analysis provided categorized data as to how the respondents behave as consumers, how the pandemic has altered their behavior, and whether or not they would be willing to support corporations not engaging in CSR actions, and would they be willing to pay more for CSR-friendly products.

This thesis provided both theoretical contributions and managerial implications. The theoretical framework was adjusted and corrected by utilizing the results from both the quantitative and qualitative analyses. Thus, it consists of CSR initiatives, COVID-19 pandemic, and consumer behavior. Additionally, the managerial implications benefit organizations by offering insights as to how consumers behave towards CSR, which CSR factors are valued the most, and what kind of perspectives and opinions consumers have regarding corporations engaging in CSR. Lastly, the reliability, validity, and generalizability of the study, as well as the evaluation of the research, was assessed, together with discussing the limitations of the research and presenting research proposals for further research.

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Copyright information: © Sami Rojo, 2021. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.