Challenging corporate commitment to CSR: Do CEOs keep talking about corporate social responsibility (CSR) issues in times of the global financial crisis?
Publication typeJournal article
JournalManagement Research Review
Publication Begin page1410
Publication End page1430
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AbstractPurpose In times of crisis, the fundamental principles of companies erode, leading to strategy shifts. This paper aims to examine whether corporate social responsibility (CSR) is on management’s agenda in times of crisis, indicating CSR embeddedness into corporate strategy. The focus is on the four pillars of CSR: social, environment, economy and governance. Design/methodology/approach Starting points are competing hypotheses based on shareholder and stakeholder theory. Chief executive officer (CEO) letters to shareholders of German HDAX firms from 2003 to 2012 are analyzed by means of computer-aided text analysis. Findings The authors find that CEOs talk less about CSR in times of crisis, especially about social and governance issues, indicating that CSR is not fully embedded into corporate strategy, and that, in times of crisis, other aspects gain more importance on management’s agenda.
KeywordCorporate social responsibility (CSR), Governance, Economic Crisis, Corporate Strategy, Computer-aided Text Analysis (CATA), Stakeholder and Shareholder Theory