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Abstract

Social enterprises that seek to pursue socially desirable goals through economic profits have received considerable attention in recent years. Despite the widespread attention paid to social enterprises, they often achieve limited success in markets. This research examines how types of enterprises affect consumer judgments. This research considers two types of enterprises: social and for-profit enterprises. Building on the stereotype content model, we propose that consumers perceive social enterprises using the dimensions of warmth and competence. Study 1 shows that a product of a for-profit enterprise is judged as having higher performance, but being less meaningful; in contrast, a product of a social enterprise is judged as warmer, but less competent. Further, in Study 2, we demonstrate that consumers’ willingness to buy products can be lowered when the products are offered by a social enterprise. Practical and theoretical implications are further discussed.

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