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Journal Articles Business Horizons Year : 2015

Corporate crises in the age of corporate social responsibility

Sankar Sen
  • Function : Author
Cb Bhattacharya
  • Function : Author


Many companies today believe that corporate social responsibility (CSR) acts as a reservoir of goodwill, insulating the firm from the negative impacts of a crisis. Yet, the impact of CSR on public reaction to corporate crises is more complex. Drawing on research on stakeholder reactions to CSR and—more specifically—corporate crises, we present a contingent framework for understanding the roles of CSR in corporate crises and how to manage it. This framework posits that CSR plays four important roles: it (1) increases stakeholders’ attention to crises, (2) affects blame attributions, (3) raises expectations, and (4) changes stakeholders’ evaluations of crisis situations. Several factors underlying these roles are also discussed. Overall, this article underscores that while CSR may insulate companies and mitigate stakeholders’ negative responses in some cases, in others it may actually lead to the opposite effect, amplifying the negative impact of a crisis. The article ends with a brief discussion of the implications of our framework for effective crisis management strategies in the age of CSR.
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hal-01563031 , version 1 (17-07-2017)



Catherine Janssen, Sankar Sen, Cb Bhattacharya. Corporate crises in the age of corporate social responsibility. Business Horizons, 2015, 58 (2), pp.183--192. ⟨10.1016/j.bushor.2014.11.002⟩. ⟨hal-01563031⟩
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