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Consumer perceptions of corporate firms in Manzini based on their corporate social responsibility Initiatives.

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ABSTRACT Over recent times, more and more profit making entities have chosen to adopt and apply Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) principles as part of their active business models. The reasons for this move have varied from business to business. Despite the fact that the business world has striven to package CSR activities as proactive acts of nobility, some observers have perceived it in less enthused terms. Consequently, the general sentiment toward CSR policies amongst scholars, observers and corporates has varied significantly. While some quarters have tended to demonize and label CSR as a threat to profit maximization, others have professed its supposed contribution towards financial performance. CSR as a study area is wide, complex and especially multifaceted. For this reason, the focus of this research paper will centre on the influence of organizational CSR on consumer perceptions, (i.e. consumer perception of socially responsible organizations). An assessment of literature on CSR topics such as corporate reputation, CSR benefits, consumer perceptions and CSR influence on buying decisions was conducted. This literature has helped contextualize the research objectives and has also paved way for data analysis. The research was based on questionnaire data collected directly from consumers. The study revealed a link between socially responsible companies and consumers’ inclination to consciously choose products produced by those companies. This study found that while consumers still tend to favourably regard the products of socially responsible companies, this preferentiality is subject to expectations of acceptable quality standards. The key recommendation is for companies to: provide the best quality products and services, create awareness and get feedback from consumers on the effectiveness of their CSR initiatives.


Master’s Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.