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The Desirability of CSR Communication versus Greenhushing in the Hospitality Industry: The Customers’ Perspective

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Andrea Ettinger, Sonja Grabner-Kräuter, Shintaro Okazaki, Ralf Terlutter

Original languageEnglish
JournalJOURNAL OF TRAVEL RESEARCH
Early online date18 Jun 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Jun 2020

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Abstract

Recent literature describes “greenhushing” as the deliberate managerial under-communicating of corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts for fear of negative customer opinions and responses. Based on social psychological theory of tourism motivation and cognitive dissonance theory, this research tries to seek evidence that justifies such a practice from the customers’ perspective. In Study 1, focus groups reveal that hotels’ CSR communication and awareness creation for environmental issues are desired by consumers. In Study 2, an online experiment uncovers that one-way and particularly two-way CSR communication lead to more favorable attitudes toward hotels’ CSR communication and lower intentions to behave unethically, compared with greenhushing. Perceived consumer effectiveness mediates the relationship between type of CSR communication and attitudes toward hotels’ CSR communication as well as intentions to behave unethically. Pro-environmental identity moderates the relationship. Taken together, our research provides little justification for greenhushing in a hospitality context from the customers’ perspective.

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