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Millennials' evaluation of corporate social responsibility: The wants and needs of the largest and most ethical generation

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Elena Chatzopoulou



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


© 2020 The Authors. Journal of Consumer Behaviour published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Millennials are the most ethical generation, yet their evaluations of ethical practice remain unexplored in academic literature. Recently, the field of corporate social responsibility is moving closer to the forefront of corporate concerns as it climbs the hierarchy of consumer needs. Millennials are more aware of company activity than any other generation and so this presents a crucial opportunity for marketers to explore the gap between consumer attitudes and consumer purchasing behaviour by improving their understanding of this unique generation. This study explores how millennials evaluate corporate social responsibility (CSR), how authenticity perceptions are structured within CSR and what factors are most important to their ethical behaviour. In order to capture these antecedents with adequate depth, 15 qualitative interviews were conducted and analysed iteratively and rigorously using thematic analysis. According to the findings, millennials evaluate company activity through a lens of idealism. They have a natural scepticism for corporate ethics which drives them to look for cues that company actions are authentic and originate from unselfish motives. Activities associated with philanthropy are not trusted by millennials as they believe that companies should be responsible for their own domains of activity. This study is significant in providing managers with an in-depth understanding of a powerful generation and its contemporary mentality.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Chatzopoulou E, de Kiewiet A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Consumer Behaviour

Year: 2021

Volume: 20

Issue: 3

Pages: 521-534

Print publication date: 01/05/2021

Online publication date: 14/10/2020

Acceptance date: 16/09/2020

Date deposited: 25/06/2021

ISSN (print): 1472-0817

ISSN (electronic): 1479-1838

Publisher: John Wiley and Sons Ltd


DOI: 10.1002/cb.1882


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