Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 95, Issue 2, pp 297–318

When Suits Meet Roots: The Antecedents and Consequences of Community Engagement Strategy

  • Frances Bowen
  • Aloysius Newenham-Kahindi
  • Irene Herremans
Article

DOI: 10.1007/s10551-009-0360-1

Cite this article as:
Bowen, F., Newenham-Kahindi, A. & Herremans, I. J Bus Ethics (2010) 95: 297. doi:10.1007/s10551-009-0360-1

Abstract

Understanding firms’ interfaces with the community has become a familiar strategic concern for both firms and non-profit organizations. However, it is still not clear when different community engagement strategies are appropriate or how such strategies might benefit the firm and community. In this review, we examine when, how and why firms benefit from community engagement strategies through a systematic review of over 200 academic and practitioner knowledge sources on the antecedents and consequences of community engagement strategy. We analytically describe evidence on the rise of the community engagement strategy literature over time, its geographical spread and methodological evolution. A foundational concept underlying many studies is the ‘continuum of community engagement’. We build on this continuum to develop a typology of three engagement strategies: transactional, transitional and transformational engagement. By identifying the antecedents and outcomes of the three strategies, we find that the payoffs from engagement are largely longer-term enhanced firm legitimacy, rather than immediate cost–benefit improvements. We use our systematic review to draw implications for future research and managerial practice.

Keywords

citizens community engagement community groups corporate philanthropy social partnerships social strategy stakeholder engagement systematic review 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frances Bowen
    • 1
  • Aloysius Newenham-Kahindi
    • 2
  • Irene Herremans
    • 1
  1. 1.Haskayne School of BusinessUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada
  2. 2.Edwards School of BusinessUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada

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