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Strategic dimensions of corporate image: Corporate ability and corporate social responsibility as sources of competitive advantage via differentiation

Опубликовано на портале: 25-12-2003
Подтип: PhD
Тематические разделы: Менеджмент, Маркетинг

This dissertation research makes significant theoretical and managerial contribution to the area of marketing strategy by exploring the link between company image and competitive advantage. First, this research produces empirical evidence that a company's image as perceived by its customers, produces competitive advantage for the firm by successfully differentiating it from its competitors. Second, this study for the first time uses consumer responses such as willingness to purchase, pay a premium price, customer satisfaction and loyalty to operationalize the competitive advantage variable. Suggested by others, these consumer responses precede the more popular measures of competitive advantage used in business literature such as market share and profitability, and are more appropriately signal the presence of competitive advantage through differentiation. Third, this study reveals the role of two strategic dimensions of company image—corporate ability (CA) and corporate social responsibility (CSR)—in producing the above advantage. Results show that both the CA and CSR records directly produce competitive advantage for the firm via differentiation. A key finding of this study is the significance of CSR which plays an even more important role that the CA record in triggering consumer responses such as purchase intent and willingness to pay premium prices. This finding challenges the work of earlier researchers who have suggested an indirect relationship between a company's CSR initiatives and consumer responses. Results of this study support the popular view held in business literature that when faced with parity in price and quality, consumers refer to the company's socially responsible initiatives in make consumption related decisions. This doctoral dissertation research promises key directions to managers in the area of corporate strategy by producing evidence to support corporate investments in CSR activities.