Purpose - This study aims to make a distinction between two types of authenticity (indexical vs iconic), the influence of both of which on the consumers inference of companies corporate social responsibility (CSR) motivation is determined. Meanwhile, the consumer inference of CSR activities can be affected by the situational context within which the CSR activities are contained. Therefore, the effect of the interaction between the authenticity type and the given social distance (based on the construal level theory) was also examined. Design/methodology/approach - The study conducted a 2 × 2 between-subjects design experiment to examine the effects of authenticity type (indexical/iconic) and social distance (close/distant) on the perceived motive of the CSR information in a scenario. Findings - The findings showed significant main effect of authenticity type but no significant main effect of social distance on persuasion knowledge. Participants in the indexical authenticity condition perceived a higher degree of persuasion knowledge than the participants in the iconic authenticity condition. Social distance moderated the effect of authenticity type such that for indexical authenticity, there was a significant difference on persuasion knowledge when the social distance was large. However, for iconic authenticity, the perception of persuasion knowledge was not significantly different between a large distance and a close distance. Originality/value - The study identified the type of authenticity that is mainly perceived as a result of CSR activities and also determined its relation to the social distance dimension to infer a firms CSR motives.
- Construal level theory
- Corporate social responsibility
- Social distance