The Meaning and Meaningfulness of Corporate Social Initiatives

35 Pages Posted: 10 Jun 2008

See all articles by David Hess

David Hess

The Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan

Danielle Warren

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - Rutgers Business School at Newark & New Brunswick

Abstract

In response to pressures to be more socially responsible, corporations are becoming more active in global communities through direct involvement in social initiatives. Critics, however, question the sincerity of these activities and argue that firms are simply attempting to stave off stakeholder pressures without providing a corresponding benefit to society. By drawing on institutional theory and resource dependence theory, we consider what factors influence the adoption of a meaningful social initiative - an initiative that is sustainable and has the potential for a significant positive impact on society - as opposed to a symbolic initiative. In addition, we raise the question of how social initiatives - both meaningful and symbolic - participate in the institutional war over the meaning of corporate social responsibility.

Suggested Citation

Hess, David and Warren, Danielle, The Meaning and Meaningfulness of Corporate Social Initiatives. Business and Society Review, Vol. 113, Issue 2, pp. 163-197, June 2008, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1142989 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8594.2008.00317.x

David Hess (Contact Author)

The Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan ( email )

701 Tappan Street
Ann Arbor, MI MI 48109
United States
734-763-9779 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://michiganross.umich.edu/faculty-research/faculty/david-hess

Danielle Warren

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - Rutgers Business School at Newark & New Brunswick ( email )

Janice H. Levin Bldg., Room 121
94 Rockafeller Road
Piscataway, NJ 08854-8054
United States

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