Unaffiliated Professional Service Providers and Their CSR Perceptions
Hickman, Thomas M.
Washburn University. School of Business
Kaw Valley Bank
We introduce the term unaffiliated professional service providers PSPs to define and classify a distinct set of PSPs who have recognized expertise in a product category, even though those products are not used in their supply channel ( e.g., a dentist recommending a toothpaste brand). The investigation aims to determine how the importance of sustainability is built in the mind of unaffiliated PSPs for two reasons. First, sustainability is significant in consumers' selection criteria and, second, these professionals are influential in their clients' brand choice. A major supplier to veterinarian clinics and hospitals aided with data collection. Responses from 467 veterinarians were collected and structural equation modeling was used to test a conceptual model of the determinants of sustainability importance for unaffiliated PSPs. Results indicate that eco-claims, alone, do not motivate the importance of sustainability in the mind of unaffiliated PSPs. Instead, social norms and expertise in sustainability are vital to the strengthening of the importance of environmental stewardship for professionals. The findings led to a proposed typology of perceived importance of sustainability and the expected behavior of the unaffiliated PSPs, thus opening a window into a new area of research.