Corporate Social Responsibility Reporting as Substantive and Symbolic Behavior: A Multilevel Theoretical Analysis

31 Pages Posted: 3 Jun 2016

See all articles by Kareem M. Shabana

Kareem M. Shabana

Central Connecticut State University - Management & Organization

Elizabeth C. Ravlin

University of South Carolina - Darla Moore School of Business

Date Written: Summer 2016

Abstract

This article describes a multilevel theoretical framework that examines the multiple causes of corporate social responsibility (CSR) reporting in the social environment of business. We argue that substantive and/or symbolic reporting flows from individual‐, aggregate‐, organizational‐, and institution‐level phenomena, and is thus a complex outcome of CSR and corporate social performance (CSP). Theoretical lenses range from reinforcement theory at the microlevel to legitimacy and stakeholder theories at the macrolevel, and include a discussion of the emergence of lower‐level CSR‐relevant characteristics to higher level constructs. Our goal is to clarify how this behavior develops from microlevel, mesolevel, and macrolevel processes with a view toward assisting corporations to better enact CSR reporting, and their stakeholders to effectively promote substantive reporting behavior.

Suggested Citation

Shabana, Kareem M. and Ravlin, Elizabeth C., Corporate Social Responsibility Reporting as Substantive and Symbolic Behavior: A Multilevel Theoretical Analysis (Summer 2016). Business and Society Review, Vol. 121, Issue 2, pp. 297-327, 2016, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2789194 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/basr.12089

Kareem M. Shabana (Contact Author)

Central Connecticut State University - Management & Organization ( email )

United States

Elizabeth C. Ravlin

University of South Carolina - Darla Moore School of Business ( email )

1705 College St
Francis M. Hipp Building
Columbia, SC 29208
United States

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