Publication Date

2017

Abstract

We explore the essential contestedness of corporate social responsibility (CSR) by framing the interplay between CSR activities and st akeholder evaluations as a contest for jurisdiction over what it means to be socially resp onsible. This contest arises because firms and stakeholders are often guided by incompatible sense making systems. To show why context matters we show how stakeholders evaluate the authe nticity of CSR activities on the basis of schemas for responsible behavior on one hand and th eir perceptions of firm identity on the other. This process can generate complex evaluations whose meaning depends on the distribution of power in fields and the extent to which pluralistic sensemaking systems are compatible. By positioning authenticity evaluations within a frame work that describes the state of power and pluralism within which they are produced, we are ab le to present a systematic explanation of how and why stakeholder responses to CSR vary over a range of settings.

Publication Title

Business Ethics Quarterly

Volume

27

Issue

1

First Page

99

Last Page

123

Version

pre-print, post-print

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