The influences of corporate social responsibility on buyer behaviour and competitive advantage in the automotive industry - an industry perspective
(2016) The influences of corporate social responsibility on buyer behaviour and competitive advantage in the automotive industry - an industry perspective, no. 91.
The discovery of the Volkswagen emission scandal on the 18th of September 2015, highlighted a need for an investigation into the influences and purposes of corporate social responsibility in the automotive industry. The purpose of this study was to investigate the presence of corporate social responsibility in the Scottish automotive retail industry, specifically Edinburgh and the surrounding areas. The study aimed to examine the influences of corporate social responsibility on buyer behaviours and competitive advantage, from the perspective of individuals in the industry and furthermore, whether corporate social responsibility is used for commercial gain. To achieve this, the findings were critically compared to existing literature to possibly find a correlation between theory and practice. This study followed a qualitative research approach by using semi-structured, in-depth interviews to gather data. A purposeful sampling method was used to gather respondents who had high levels of knowledge in the industry. The respondents ranged from sales advisors to the managing director of one of Scotland's largest private automotive retailer. The findings of this research both agreed and disagreed with previous research. The study disagrees with research that suggests, if an organisation actively participates in corporate social responsible practices, they will benefit from competitive advantage. This is because it was found to have an extremely limited influence over buyer behaviours in the automotive industry and therefore is negligible when discussing competitive advantage. However, the research argues that corporate social responsibility will have an increased bearing at a micro-level which was suggested in previous literature. The study however is not without its limitations. Since this research was focused on the perspective of individuals who operate in the industry, it does not take into account the view of the consumer. Therefore, future research may benefit from a mixed methods approach, to compare the views on either side. Finally, the study unearthed the possibility of a connection between consumer loyalties was surprisingly evident in many interviews, but not identifiable in previous literature. Thus, this could potentially be an interesting are for future research with regards to the mixed methods approach mentioned above.