Assessing the Impact of (Overly) Socially Desirable Brand Attributes in Choice Conjoint Tasks

André Carlos Martins Menck, João Bento Oliveira


This research assesses the effects of corporate social responsibility on choice behavior. The construct social responsibility is highly socially desirable by definition. As a result, choice tasks in such setting may be biased by social desirability. This paper unveils a data treatment on choice conjoint tasks that sorts out the respondents who are likely to be mostly affected by social desirability. In this research a survey with choice conjoint tasks is used to evaluate interaction effects of corporate social involvement on functional attributes. Choice on four different product categories is assessed in a 215 within-subject design embedded in a 3x2x2 between-subject design. The main effects of corporate social involvement come out strong. The predicted interactions between social involvement and the functional attributes of the products seem to be affected by social desirability, leading to unclear results. The sub-samples resulting from the data manipulation, however, provide empirical support to the hypotheses on the interaction terms. This indicates the appropriateness of a model in which social involvement signals that the firm’s arguments on its products’ credence attributes are worth trusting. Nonetheless, the results with the full data prevent assertive conclusions.


demand artifacts; social desirability; conjoint analysis; corporate social responsibility

Full Text:



Aronson, E; Ellsworth, P.; Carlsmith, J.M; Gonzales, M.P. (1990). Methods of Research in Social Psychology. NY: McGraw-Hill.

Babbie, E. (1989). The Practice of Social Research. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Bowen, H.R. (1953). Social Responsibilities of the Businessman. NY: Harper & Row.

Clarkson, M.B.E. (1995), “A Stakeholder Framework for Analyzing and Evaluating Corporate Social Performance,” Academy of Management Review, V. 20(1), 92-117.

CTBC, Relatório aos Acionistas (Stockholder Report)-1998.

Feather, N.T. (1990), “Bridging the Gap Between Values and Actions: Recent Applications of the Expectancy-Value Model,” in E.T. Higgins and R.M. Sorrentino (eds.), Handbook of Motivation and Cognition, V.2, 151-192.

Gopinath, D.A. (1995), “Modeling Heterogeneity in Discrete Choice Processes: Application to Travel Demand,” Doctoral Dissertation, Dept. of Civil Engineering of the MIT.

Hahn, G. L. and S. Shapiro (1966), “A Catalog and Computer Program for Use with Symmetric and Asymmetric Fractional Factorial Experiments,” presented at the 1966 Annual Convention of the ASA, Los Angeles, CA, in Aug 15, 1966.

Hirschman, E.C. (1980), “Comprehending Symbolic Consumption,” in E.C. Hirschman and M.B. Holbrook (eds.), Symbolic Consumer Behavior, Ann Arbor, MI: Association for Consumer Research, 4-6.

Intelligent Marketing Systems, Inc. (1994), NTELOGIT—User’s Manual, Edmonton, Canada: Intelligent Marketing Systems, Inc.

Kleine, III, R.E., S.S. Kleine and J.B. Kernan (1993), “Mundane Consumption and the Self: A Social-Identify Perspective,” J. of Consumer Psychology, V.2, 209-235.

Lancaster, K.(1966), “New Approach to Consumer Theory,” J. of Political Economics, V.74.

Lerner, L.D. and G.E. Fryxell (1988), “An Empirical Study of the Predictors of Corporate Social Performance: A Multi-Dimensional Analysis,” J. of Business Ethics, V.7, 951-9.

Manski, C. (1977), “The Structure of Random Utility Models,” Theory and Decision, V.8.

Marketing Science Institute (1992), Research Priorities 1992—1994, Cambridge, MA: Marketing Science Institute.

McCracken, G. (1986), “Culture and Consumption: A Theoretical Account of the Structure and Movement of the Cultural Meaning of Consumer Goods,” J. of Consumer Research, V.13, 71-84.

Menck, A.C.M. (1998), Effects of a Firms’ Social Involvement on Consumer Behavior. Doctoral Dissertation, U. Florida.

Mittal, B. (1990), “The Relative Roles of Brand Beliefs and Attitude Toward the Ad as Mediators of Brand Attitude,” Journal of Marketing Research, V.27, 209-19.

Nunnally, J.C. (1967). Psychometric Theory. NY: McGraw-Hill.

Reder, A. (1995), “The Wide World of Corporate Philanthropy,” Business and Society Review, N. 92, 36-42.

Revista Exame (1998), “Ser Bonzinho Compensa,” EXAME.V.31 (7), March 25.

Revista Exame (2004), Guia da Boa Cidadania Corporativa, EXAME. Ed. 808.

Richins, M.L. (1994), “Valuing Things: The Public and Private Meanings of Possessions,” J. of Consumer Research, V.21, 504-21.

Sethi, S.P. (1975), “Dimensions of Corporate Social Responsibility,” California Management Review, V.17, 58-64.

Sheth, J.N et al. (1991), Consumption Values and Market Choices: Theory and Applications, Cincinnati, OH: South-Western.

Swait, J., and M. Ben-Akiva (1987), “Incorporating Random Constraints in Discrete Models of Choice Set Generation,” Transportation Research 21B, V.2, 91-102.

Wilkie, W.L. (1994), Consumer Behavior, New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, 614 p.

Wood, D.J. (1991), “Social Issues in Management: Theory and Research in Corporate Social Performance,” Journal of Management, V.17, 383-406.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c)


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


If you find difficulties in submitting manuscript please forward your doc file to Our support team will assist you in submission process and other technical matters.

In order to get notifications on inbox please add  this domain in your email safe list.

International journal of business and social research (Print)
ISSN 2164-2540

International journal of business and social research (Online)
ISSN 2164-2559

[International Journal of Business and Social Research (IJBSR) previously published by MIR Center for Socio-Economic Research, MD, USA. From February 2018 this journal is published by the LAR Center Press, OR, USA]