"Tapping" into Goodwill: Enhancing Corporate Reputation through Customer Volunteering

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Academy of Management

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Academy of Management Journal

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Original Item ID

DOI: 10.5465/amj.2018.0354


Companies often engage in prosocial initiatives—such as employee volunteering programs—as a way to balance their economic goals with a set of social goals. In an attempt to expand the impact of such programs, some companies have begun soliciting help from their customers as well. Given the significant investment these programs represent, it is important that companies understand whether they offer the anticipated social and economic returns. Using multimethod data from a local microbrewery, we develop and test theory about the reputational implications of customers’ involvement in a corporate community engagement initiative. Our results suggest that customers’ engagement in such initiatives is related to positive views of the organization (i.e., corporate reputation), as well as positive customer behaviors—brewery patronage and purchases—two years later. Moreover, it appears that customers spread this sentiment to others—creating the potential for an even broader audience to see the company as reputable and, in turn, provide support.


Academy of Management Journal, Vol. 63, No. 6 (December 2020): 1714-1738. DOI.