Moral licensing and moral cleansing applied to company-NGO collaborations in an online context

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review


In this paper, we focus on a specific aspect of monetary value creation in CSR activities, namely, company–NGO collaborations in the solicitation of donations. During a customer's journey through an online retail environment, companies can control their presentation of options to donate to an NGO partner before or after the purchase of their products. We investigate how the sequence of purchase and donation requests influences the amount donated to an NGO and the potential revenues for a company. We apply two cognitive biases—moral licensing and moral cleansing—as theoretical bases. Prior research on moral licensing and moral cleansing frequently neglects ecological validity. Our research attempts to address this issue by applying experimental settings which increase the transferability of results into practical measures. The paper provides marketing managers with the opportunity to understand which sequence of donation and purchase options is the most suitable for their purpose.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)544 - 552
JournalJournal of Business Research
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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