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Authentic or cosmetic: stakeholders’ attribution of firms’ corporate social responsibility claims

Claudel Mombeuil (School of Management and Economics, Beijing Institute of Technology, Beijing, China)
Bin Zhang (School of Management and Economics, Beijing Institute of Technology, Beijing, China, and Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research, Beijing Institute of Technology, Beijing, China)

Social Responsibility Journal

ISSN: 1747-1117

Article publication date: 24 July 2020

Issue publication date: 31 August 2021

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Abstract

Purpose

To date, many firms tend to use corporate social responsibility (CSR) communication and marketing as a means to offset their irresponsible behaviors and unscrupulous business practices. Often time, they can easily get away with this in the context where the institutional settings are weak, and corporate social irresponsibility (CSIR) and corruption are widespread. The purpose of this study is to explore stakeholders’ attribution concerning CSR claims of four beverage manufacturing companies operating in America’s poorest country (Haiti) where CSIR and corruption remain widespread. This study also explores whether there are differences in demographic characteristics (e.g. gender, corporate affiliation and education) regarding stakeholders’ attribution of CSR claims of these companies.

Design/methodology/approach

Given the exploratory nature of this study, an inductive research approach (qualitative plus quantitative) and supported by an interpretive approach were used.

Findings

The overall results of this study show that internal (employees) and external stakeholders alike consider the CSR claims of these companies as “cosmetic,” with no significant difference in their affiliation. The results also show no significant differences in the age groups but significant differences in gender and level of education regarding stakeholders’ attribution of firms’ CSR claims.

Originality/value

By addressing firms’ CSR claims from the perspectives of internal and external stakeholders through means of a mixed methods approach, this study adds an important contribution to the relevant literature.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Ethical standards and conflict of interest: The authors would like to acknowledge that this paper meets all the ethical standards. Also, there is no conflict of interest and the authors did not receive any fund for this paper.

Citation

Mombeuil, C. and Zhang, B. (2021), "Authentic or cosmetic: stakeholders’ attribution of firms’ corporate social responsibility claims", Social Responsibility Journal, Vol. 17 No. 6, pp. 756-775. https://doi.org/10.1108/SRJ-07-2019-0248

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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