The signs of global warming are everywhere, and climate change is becoming a fundamental threat to the lives of people and other species. To attack this problem, greenhouse gas emission needs to be reduced. Energy companies are feeling pressured to look at other “green” business alternatives, as their initial business is associated with polluting activities. Therefore, the communication of their CSR strategy is crucial in order to continue their business and gain the support of the public. However, various elements, such as prior crises and communicated motives, could influence the evaluation of the CSR initiative. Thus, the aim of this research is to dive deeper into the role of prior crises and communicated motives and examine what impact it can have on the level of trust and eWOM intentions regarding a CSR message. In order to provide an answer to the research question, a quantitative research with a 2 (prior crisis: intentional vs. accidental) x 2 (type of communicated motive: public-serving vs. firm-serving) between-subjects design was conducted. The results showed that a prior accidental crisis would lead to more trust (in competence and morality) than a prior intentional crisis. However, the difference between accidental and intentional was not found for eWOM intentions. Instead, the scores for both crises were rather low. Additionally, communicated motives only had an effect on trust in competence. It was discovered that public-serving motives would lead to more trust in competence than firm-serving motives. No significant differences were found for trust in morality and eWOM intentions. Moreover, prior crisis does not moderate the effect of communicated motives on trust / eWOM. This indicates that combinations of communicated motives with prior crises do not differ from each other in trust and eWOM intentions. At the same time, it was discovered that trust can not act as a mediator between prior crises / communicated motives and trust. The findings provide insights for CSR managers and marketers on how to optimize their CSR strategy for the investment in renewable energy. However, more extensive research on this topic is needed to fully understand the communication strategy of CSR after a crisis.

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Prooijen, A. van
Media & Business
Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication

Ng, Joyce. (2019, July). The investment in renewable energy A quantitative research examining how prior crises and communicated motives affect public trust and eWOM. Media & Business. Retrieved from