Co-creation: A Key Link Between Corporate Social Responsibility, Customer Trust, and Customer Loyalty

Journal of Business Ethics:1-16 (forthcoming)

Abstract
In an ever more transparent, digitalized, and connected environment, customers are increasingly pressuring brands to embrace genuine corporate social responsibility practices and co-creation activities. While both CSR and co-creation are social and collaborative processes, there is still little research examining whether CSR can boost co-creation. In addition, while previous research has mainly related co-creation to emotional outcomes, limited empirical research has related it to rational and behavioral outcomes. To address these shortcomings in the literature, this paper examines the influence of CSR on customer loyalty, considering the mediating roles of co-creation and customer trust. It also investigates the influence of co-creation on customer trust. The data were collected in Spain in late 2017 using an online survey, and the sample contained 1101 customers of health insurance services brands. Structural equation modeling was used to test the hypothesized relationships simultaneously. The results show that CSR influences customer loyalty both directly and indirectly through co-creation and customer trust. However, the indirect impact is the stronger of the two, implying that embracing co-creation activities and developing customer trust can make it easier for CSR practices to enhance customer loyalty. In addition, co-creation has a direct effect on customer trust.
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DOI 10.1007/s10551-018-4015-y
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