In the current socioeconomic environment, brands increasingly need to portray societal and ethical commitments at a corporate level, in order to remain competitive and improve their reputation. However, studies that relate business ethics to corporate brands are either purely conceptual or have been empirically conducted in relation to the field of products/goods. This is surprising because corporate brands are even more relevant in the services sector, due to the different nature of services, and the subsequent need to provide a consistent (...) high-quality customer experience across all the brand–customer interactions and touch-points. Thus, the purpose of this article is to study, at a corporate brand level and in the field of services, the effect of customer perceived ethicality of a brand on brand equity. The model is tested by structural equations, using data collected for eight service categories by means of a panel composed of 2179 customers. The test of measurement equivalence between these categories is conducted using generalizability theory. Confirmatory factor analysis marker technique is applied in order to check for common method variance. The results of the hypothesized model indicate that customer perceived ethicality has a positive, indirect impact on brand equity, through the mediators of brand affect and perceived quality. However, there is no empirical evidence for a direct effect of customer perceived ethicality on brand equity. (shrink)
In the past few decades, a growth in ethical consumerism has led brands to increasingly develop conscientiousness and depict ethical image at a corporate level. However, most of the research studying business ethics in the field of corporate brand management is either conceptual or has been empirically conducted in relation to goods/products contexts. This is surprising because corporate brands are more relevant in services contexts, because of the distinct nature of services and the key role that employees have in the (...) services sector. Accordingly, this article aims at empirically examining the effects of customer perceived ethicality in the context of corporate services brands. Based on data collected for eight service categories using a panel of 2179 customers, the hypothesized structural model is tested using path analysis. The results show that, in addition to a direct effect, customer perceived ethicality has a positive and indirect effect on customer loyalty, through the mediators of customer affective commitment and customer perceived quality. Further, employee empathy positively influences the impact of customer perceived ethicality on customer affective commitment, and customer loyalty positively impacts customer positive word-of-mouth. The first implication of these results is that corporate brand strategy needs to be aligned with human resources policies and practices if brands want to turn ethical strategies into employee behavior. Second, corporate brands should build more authentic communications grounded in their ethical beliefs and supported by evidence from actual employees. (shrink)
In order to be competitive in an era of ethical consumerism, brands are facing an ever-increasing pressure to integrate ethical values into their identities and to display their ethical commitment at a corporate level. Nevertheless, studies that relate business ethics to corporate brands are either theoretical or have predominantly been developed empirically in goods contexts. This is surprising, because corporate brands are more relevant in services settings, given the nature of services, and the fact that services settings comprise a greater (...) number of customer–brand interactions and touch points than goods contexts. Accordingly, the purpose of this article is to empirically examine the effects of customer perceived ethicality of corporate brands that operate in the services sector. Based on data collected for eight service categories using a panel of 2179 customers, the hypothesized structural model is tested using path analysis. The generalizability theory is applied to test for measurement equivalence between these categories. The results of the hypothesized model show that, in addition to a direct impact, customer perceived ethicality has a positive and indirect impact on brand equity, through the mediators of recognition benefits and brand image. Moreover, brand heritage negatively influences the impact of customer perceived ethicality on brand image. The main implication is that managers need to be aware of the need to reinforce brand image and recognition benefits, as this can facilitate the translation of customer perceived ethicality into brand equity. (shrink)
As brands have emerged as key organizational assets and primary capital, branding has become the essence of many businesses. Companies and their brands are evermore expected to behave in a responsible way towards society. This article develops a model that allows companies that are interested in brand building towards social values to identify which kinds of public services are better for them to associate with in order to develop a socially responsible strategy.
One of the key challenges for firms is to manage sustainability along the supply chain. To extend sustainability to suppliers, organizations have developed different governance mechanisms. The aim of this paper is to analyze the effectiveness of two different mechanisms (i.e., supplier assessment and collaboration with suppliers) to improve one dimension of sustainability: environmental performance. Structural Equation Modeling and cluster analysis were used to analyze the relationships between supplier assessment, collaboration with suppliers, and environmental performance. The results suggest that (1) (...) both mechanisms, supplier assessment and collaboration with suppliers, have a positive and synergistic effect on environmental performance, and (2) assessment acts as an enabler of collaboration. Finally, the paper also contributes to the literature by providing a framework of sustainability governance mechanisms. (shrink)