CSR and Feminist Organization Studies: Towards an Integrated Theorization for the Analysis of Gender Issues

Abstract

Although corporate social responsibility (CSR) practice increasingly addresses gender issues, and gender and CSR scholarship is expanding, feminist theory is rarely explicitly referenced or discussed in the CSR literature. We contend that this omission is a key limitation of the field. We argue that CSR theorization and research on gender can be improved through more explicit and systematic reference to feminist theories, and particularly those from feminist organization studies (FOS). Addressing this gap, we review developments in feminist organization theory, mapping their relevance to CSR. With reference to six major theoretical perspectives in CSR scholarship, we note feminist research relating to each. Drawing upon FOS theory and CSR theory, we then develop an integrated theoretical framework for the analysis of gender issues in CSR. Our framework enables us to identify research strengths in the gender and CSR literature, as well as gaps therein, to open new conversations and to posit future research directions for this emerging area of scholarship. Our paper illustrates how a better grounding of CSR in feminist theory can contribute to CSR research more broadly.

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Acknowledgements

Thanks to Lauren McCarthy, Gavin Jack, Mike Humphreys, and contributors to the staff seminar on this paper at Department of Management, Society and Communication, Copenhagen Business School, for critical and constructive comments on previous iterations of this paper. Thanks also to three anonymous reviewers for their developmental comments and suggestions. We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Velux Chair for Corporate Sustainability at Copenhagen Business School, which facilitated research collaboration on this article.

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Correspondence to Kate Grosser.

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Grosser, K., Moon, J. CSR and Feminist Organization Studies: Towards an Integrated Theorization for the Analysis of Gender Issues. J Bus Ethics 155, 321–342 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-017-3510-x

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Keywords

  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Feminist organization studies
  • Feminist theory
  • Gender