Microfoundations of Corporate Social Responsibility and Irresponsibility
Shea, C. T., & Hawn, O. V. (2019). Microfoundations of Corporate Social Responsibility and Irresponsibility. Academy of Management Journal, 62(5), 1609-1642. doi:10.5465/amj.2014.0795
57 Pages Posted: 19 Jan 2014 Last revised: 10 Jun 2020
Date Written: August 17, 2019
This study examines how social perception of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and irresponsibility (CSI) affects specific outcomes. Drawing from the social psychology literature on stereotypes, we argue that two fundamental dimensions of social perception—warmth and competence—mediate and moderate the effects of socially responsible and irresponsible practices. We propose that firms engaging in CSR are perceived as higher in warmth and, by default, competence; moreover, different perceptions of warmth and competence of the organization can moderate rewards and penalties for CSR and CSI. We conduct two experiments: Experiment 1 links CSR with perceptions of warmth and competence, and shows that warmth perceptions mediate the relationship between CSR and important outcomes, such as purchase intentions and reputation. Experiment 2 adds information on firms’ countries of origin to show that CSR rewards and CSI penalties will differ depending on the (mis)alignment of CSR strategy with country stereotypes. Study 3 replicates these findings using behavioral paradigms. We find that firms from high-warmth countries (USA, Sweden, Portugal) pay higher penalties for CSI than firms from low-warmth countries (Germany, Pakistan); furthermore, this effect attenuates when combined with high competence. This micro-macro study extends social evaluation, strategic CSR, and international management literatures.
Keywords: corporate social ir/responsibility, social perception, stereotypes, experiment, competence, warmth, international management
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