How International Firms Conduct Societal Marketing in Emerging Markets: An Empirical Test in China

Fue Zeng, Ji LI*, Hong Zhu, Zhenyao Cai, Pengcheng Li

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


This study tests the relationship between activities of societal marketing and firms' CSR legitimacy in terms of corporate social responsibility (CSR). It also examines the effects of the CSR legitimacy on firm performances in marketing. In addition, the study considers the relative importance of different activities of societal marketing. Based on data from a large sample of firms operating in both southern and northern China, this study compares the relative importance of three dimensions of societal marketing activities which influence a firm's CSR legitimacy. Different from research findings from developed economies, our data show that the social dimension of societal marketing activities is the most effective when it comes to influencing a firm's CSR image in an emerging economy. This image, in turn, has a positive effect on its marketing performances. This study suggests that, in an emerging economy such as China, firms that pay more attention to the social dimension of societal marketing are likely to be more effective in terms of building CSR legitimacy and achieving good performances.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)841-868
Number of pages28
JournalManagement International Review
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Strategy and Management

User-Defined Keywords

  • Chinese market
  • Environmental
  • Firm performance
  • Institutional environments
  • Social and economic societal marketing


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