This study examines the variations in corporate social orientations (CSOs) across developed and developing countries in the context of a legitimacy threat. Conceptualizing CSO as signals, I develop and validate a 7-code index of CSO that identifies executive orientations towards multiple stakeholders. Using this index on CEO shareholder letters from US, Germany and India, I find that firms signal a multi stakeholder image towards employees, communities and environment during good times to enhance their social license to operate and yet such signals are not carried through during the threat period. This disconnect in signaling in the wake of a legitimacy threat is indicative of decoupling in corporate orientations and exposes the multi-dimensionality of the CSO concept. By adding a cross-national and temporal dimension, this research contributes towards better understanding the complexity behind corporate social orientations and opens new areas for future research.

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Jain, Tanusree

Decoupling corporate social orientations: A cross-national analysis

09/2017
This study examines the variations in corporate social orientations (CSOs) across developed and developing countries in the context of a legitimacy threat. Conceptualizing CSO as signals, I develop and validate a 7-code index of CSO that identifies executive orientations towards multiple stakeholders. Using this index on CEO shareholder letters from US, Germany and India, I find that firms signal a multi stakeholder image towards employees, communities and environment during good times to enhance their social license to operate and yet such signals are not carried through during the threat period. This disconnect in signaling in the wake of a legitimacy threat is indicative of decoupling in corporate orientations and exposes the multi-dimensionality of the CSO concept. By adding a cross-national and temporal dimension, this research contributes towards better understanding the complexity behind corporate social orientations and opens new areas for future research.
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Decoupling corporate social orientations: A cross-national analysis
Jain, Tanusree
Business & Society
Vol. 56, n 7, 09/2017, p. 1033 - 1067

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