Corporate social responsibility and stock market actors: A comprehensive study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (SciVal)

Abstract

Purpose
– The purpose of this study is to analyse the views stock market actors have on corporate communication of corporate social responsibility (CSR) information grounded on legitimacy and stakeholder theory. Recent findings suggest that management teams experience an increased interest and demand for CSR information from the actors on the stock market and that this underlie a focus shift. This is quite astonishing considering that the interest from just stock market actors in CSR information always has been meagre. However, due to lack of recent studies, it has not been confirmed that de facto there has been a trend shift among stock market actors towards an increased interest in CSR information.

Design/methodology/approach
– The data are derived from in-depth semi-structured interviews with financial analysts at international investment banks.

Findings
– The study confirms that the focus shift is not at all driven by the actors in the stock market. Quite the opposite. They express mistrust towards this information and a continued meagre interest in it.

Research limitations/implications
– Findings from the study suggest the need for more research on how different stakeholders view CSR information. It also opens up for discussions on regulations concerning CSR information.

Practical implications
– The findings imply that management teams might have deluded themselves and become victim to what Christensen and Cheney (2000) refer to as self-seduces, i.e. seeing things that are not really there. The findings might also indicate an enlargement of the stakeholder perspective. Thus, a subtle shift from a bilateral relationship (company – shareholders) towards a multilateral set of relationships (company – stakeholders) camouflaged under the justification from management teams that the increased interest comes from the stock market.

Originality/value
– The study contributes to the scarce research on how actors in the stock market view CSR. The findings are of interest and relevance to the business and academic communities in their ongoing quest of unravelling the core of CSR and business ethics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)210-225
Number of pages16
JournalSocial Responsibility Journal
Volume10
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Oct 10

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Business Administration

Keywords

  • Business ethics
  • Stakeholders
  • Corporate social responsibility (CSR)
  • Legitimacy
  • Corporate communication

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