Corporate Social Responsibility and Business Ethics: Conceptualization, Scale Development and Validation

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Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to theoretically develop and empirically validate separate scales that represent a consumer’s expectations of business ethics (BE) and corporate social responsibility (CSR). Design/methodology/approach: A literature review and qualitative research were conducted to generate items for the scales. Initial item reduction was performed qualitatively based on a panel of experts. A follow-up quantitative assessment using an exploratory factor analysis further reduced the items. The scales were then validated using confirmatory composite analysis with partial least squares-structural equation modeling. Findings: Separate scales representing consumers’ expectations of BE and CSR behaviors were developed. The scales exhibited reliability, convergent validity, discriminant validity and external validity. Practical implications: The separation of these scales into two components will facilitate more precise examination of consumer perceptions of these two components of product and brand images, and how they may impact brand attitudes and brand trust. Originality/value: This is the first effort to develop separate scales for consumer expectations of ethics and CSR, and assess their impact on brand outcomes.