Customers need to relate: The conditional warm glow effect of CSR on negative customer experiences

Sarah Alhouti, Scott A. Wright, Thomas L. Baker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


In this article, we develop and empirically test a theoretical framework explaining when and how Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) might influence evaluative judgments following a service failure. Across three studies, we find that company CSR enhances evaluations, but this effect is bounded by the fundamental need for relatedness, which reflects the extent to which individuals feel connected to others. That is, CSR enhances evaluations when this need is heightened versus not heightened, and when experiences involve human interaction versus a Self-Service Technology (SST). The findings are replicated using different sampling sources, real and hypothetical customer experiences, various relatedness cues, multiple product categories, and different evaluative judgments. The findings demonstrate that CSR helps to offset negative evaluations following a service failure but only under certain conditions. The managerial and theoretical implications of the findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)240-253
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Business Research
StatePublished - Jan 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Marketing

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