The Legitimacy of CSR Actions of Publicly Traded Companies Versus Family-Owned Companies

Abstract

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is one of the ways through which companies gain legitimacy. However, CSR actions themselves are subject to public skepticism because of increased public awareness of greenwashing and scandalous corporate behavior. Legitimacy of CSR actions is indeed influenced by the actions of the company but also is rooted in the basic cultural values of a society and in the ideologies of evaluators. This study examines the legitimacy of CSR actions of publicly traded forest products companies as compared to family-owned forest products companies. Results indicate a lower legitimacy for CSR actions of publicly traded companies than for family-owned companies. The study also examines the effect of social responsibility orientation (SRO) of evaluators on the legitimacy accorded to companies' CSR actions. We found that SRO was negatively associated with legitimacy, especially for women. Perceived profitability of companies was negatively associated with legitimacy of CSR actions for publicly traded but not for family-owned companies.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Viewable at the website http://geert-hofstede.com/research.html.

  2. 2.

    Viewable at the website http://www.worldvaluessurvey.org.

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Correspondence to Rajat Panwar.

Appendix: Sample Survey Questionnaire and Format

Appendix: Sample Survey Questionnaire and Format

Perceived Profitability

IN YOUR OPINION what has been the degree of the US forest products industry’s general profitability (1 = very low profitability to 5 = very high profitability) in recent years. Please respond separately for corporations (publicly traded company) and family-owned companies.

Perceptions Concerning CSR Actions

Indicate the level at which forest sector industry is currently performing (1 = very low level to 5 = very high). Please provide YOUR OPINION separately for corporations (publicly traded companies) and family-owned companies.

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Panwar, R., Paul, K., Nybakk, E. et al. The Legitimacy of CSR Actions of Publicly Traded Companies Versus Family-Owned Companies. J Bus Ethics 125, 481–496 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-013-1933-6

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Keywords

  • Legitimacy
  • Family-owned business
  • Publicly traded companies
  • Corporate social responsibility (CSR)
  • Social responsibility orientation
  • Forest products