Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Marketing (Business Administration)

Document Type



In the past several years, companies have discovered the importance of strategic social alliances, particularly in the form of cause related marketing (CRM) programs. Varadarajan and Menon (1988) describe the key feature of CRM as is that the firm’s contribution is linked to consumers’ engagement in revenue producing transactions with the firm. It is essentially a way for a firm to “do well by doing good” and provides several benefits to both the firm and the non-profit organizations receiving the donations. In general, academic researchers have found favorable consumer attitudes toward the firm, products and the non-profit organization involved. Consumers were more likely to switch brands and retailers to support socially responsible companies. Other researchers have examined several elements of a CRM campaign such as product type, donation size, gender, and perceived motivation of the firm. This dissertation examines prosocial behavior and the Persuasion Knowledge Model (PKM) to explain consumers’ decision to participate in the CRM offer. In addition, this research examines several factors that potentially influence a consumers’ decision to participate in CRM programs including cause importance, cause proximity, congruence and participation effort. Two pilot studies and one main study tests the influence of the four independent variables on attitudes and intentions. They examine the influence of these variables using skin cancer as the cause and fictitious brands. Results from student subjects provide evidence of the relationship between cause importance and cause proximity to affect elaboration. Additionally, congruency is perceived as more effective and a segment of consumers is identified based on their participation level. The main study uses bone cancer and fictitious brands. Results from non-student subjects provide further evidence of the relationship between cause importance and cause proximity and highlights the effect of elaboration and congruency on consumer attitudes. Additionally, the research finds an initial point where consumers consider participation effort to be too high. Overall, this research should help firms determine the best partners for strategic social alliances and how to best design them for maximum participation. It offers insight into variables that have mixed results and the identification and study of a new variable – participation effort.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Abe Biswas



Included in

Marketing Commons