Socially responsible digital marketing: its impact on customer behaviour

Alhumud, Abdullah (2022) Socially responsible digital marketing: its impact on customer behaviour. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Firms nowadays are under pressure to demonstrate their socially-responsible practices and find ways to get a closer understanding of their customers. However, there is a need for further research in certain areas of this field, particularly within the digital context, which is becoming increasingly important. As a result, this thesis examines drivers of socially responsible aspects in digital marketing and their impact on customer behaviour. The overall thesis is divided into two distinct studies, with each having a specific focus.

Study One examines the impact of digital CSR disclosure (DCSR) (i.e., environmental, community involvement, customer and products, human resources) on customer trust and engagement. It also considers the moderating role played by the customer’s deontological status and law obedience. The study is founded on the Voluntary Disclosure Theory (VDT) and the Customer Engagement Theory (CET), thus contributing to the advancement of theoretical knowledge on the subject. The results confirm that DCSR has a positive impact on customer trust, which subsequently helps to enhance customer engagement. In addition, the existence of a high level of deontology and law obedience among customers was found to strengthen the positive impact of DCSR on customer trust.

Study Two extends the knowledge in this field by considering the impact of retailer’s ethical practices in apps on customer e-trust, e-satisfaction and e-WOM, as well as examining the moderating role of customer peer communication. Social Contract Theory (SCT) and Signalling Theory (ST) were used to provide the foundation for this research. With the exception of ease of use, all ethical-related variables, namely security, privacy, transparency, credibility, information accuracy, non-deception and reliability, had a positive impact on customer e-trust. The latter was found to enhance customer e-satisfaction, which in turn helped to generate positive electronic word of mouth (e-WOM). Also, customer peer communication was shown to have a positive moderating effect between e-retailers’ ethical practices and customer e-trust.

In brief, this thesis provides useful insights into the socially responsible digital marketing practices of firms and their impact on customer behaviour, by critically reviewing extant knowledge on the subject and augmenting knowledge with novel empirical inputs focusing on achieving a positive firm-customer interaction in a digital context. The thesis makes important theoretical and managerial implications, as well as offering fruitful directions for future research.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > Norwich Business School
Depositing User: Chris White
Date Deposited: 19 Jun 2023 12:23
Last Modified: 19 Jun 2023 12:23

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