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Managerial attitude and support for social responsibility through the lens of legitimacy theory – a cross country comparison

Asit Bhattacharyya (Lecturer, at the Business School, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, Australia)

Social Responsibility Journal

ISSN: 1747-1117

Article publication date: 30 September 2014




The purpose of this paper is threefold; first, to examine the Australian and Indian managerial attitudes towards social responsibility (SR) and assess their support for SR; second, to explore the underlying factors that shape beliefs and attitudes; and third, to explore whether respondents from these countries, characterised by differing levels of development, differ in their attitudes towards SR.


It investigates attitudes and support for SR of 318 Australian and Indian managers drawn from three industries. Eighteen social issues, principal component analysis (PCA) and confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) procedures were undertaken to explore and confirm the underlying factors of SR. The paper used legitimacy theory as theoretical framework.


An overall positive attitude towards SR is shown by the both groups. Indian respondents are concerned about a greater range of social issues than Australian respondents. Australian participants strongly supported a few issues surrounding SR, whereas Indian respondents strongly supported these and other issues. Significant (at 0.00 level) differences do exist between the two groups of managers on attitudes towards various social issues.

Research limitations/implications

The questions used in the survey do not represent the entire framework on which attitudes towards SR are formed. Moreover, culture was not explicitly explored as a possible factor in the study.


The study provides a comparative analysis of the SR from the developed and developing economy perspective. Using organisational legitimacy theory the study analyse managerial attitudes with regard to maintaining pragmatic and moral legitimacy.



The author of this article is thankful to the participants of 34th Annual Congress of European Accounting Association for their comments. The author is also thankful to Professor Lorne Cummings and Dr Robert Staib for their insightful comments on earlier versions of the paper.


Bhattacharyya, A. (2014), "Managerial attitude and support for social responsibility through the lens of legitimacy theory – a cross country comparison", Social Responsibility Journal, Vol. 10 No. 4, pp. 716-736.



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