Corporate Social Responsibility Studies: A Literature Review in the Strategic Management Journal

Özcan H. M.

in: ON STRATEGY: Selected Essays, Esra DİL,Musa Said DÖVEN, Editor, Değisim Yayınları, İstanbul, pp.163-185, 2022

  • Publication Type: Book Chapter / Chapter Research Book
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Publisher: Değisim Yayınları
  • City: İstanbul
  • Page Numbers: pp.163-185
  • Editors: Esra DİL,Musa Said DÖVEN, Editor
  • Eskisehir Osmangazi University Affiliated: Yes


The concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR), which has been in the interest of academics since the 1970s, has become very popular in the business world in recent years, with the influence of society and governments. CSR, which expresses the obligations of businesses to those affected by their corporate policies and practices, has gained importance since the end of the 1960s, and it is now in the field of interest of a wide range of organizations from very small sole proprietorships to holdings (Smith, 2003). CSR, which organizations attach such importance to, is one of the topics that academicians have been intensely interested in since the mid-1970s. It is thought that CSR's high position on research agendas results from theoretical and managerial debates that argue that CSR not only makes businesses do the right thing but also encourages businesses to do better (Bhattacharya & Sen, 2004). The fact that businesses give importance to CSR also increases their brand and market values; and it also provides benefits for businesses to penetrate new markets and provide customer loyalty (Mohr & Webb, 2005). In this study, it is aimed to examine the CSR studies published in the Strategic Management Journal, one of the leading academic journals of Strategic Management, and to present the place of CSR studies in the world of Strategic Management to the reader. In this direction, articles containing "Corporate Social Responsibility" in the study title were searched in the database of Strategic Management Journal since 1980, the year of establishment of the journal, and 25 articles were reached as of February 2022.

The first striking finding is that any study titled CSR was not included in the journal from 1980, when the journal started its publication life, until 2000, and even after one study published in 2000, no study titled CSR was seen in the journal until 2009. When the studies are examined in terms of the subjects covered, it is seen that the most studied subject is the relationship between CSR and business financial performance. This subject is followed by the relationship between the CEO profile and the CSR engagement, and the relationship between the tax advantages of the enterprises and CSR engagement. When the articles are considered chronologically, the relationship between CSR and financial performance is not only the most studied topic, but it also draws attention as it has never lost popularity from 2000 to 2021. Apart from this, it is seen that the relationship between the CEO profile and CSR engagement has attracted the attention of academicians in the last 5 years. On the other hand, it can be said that since 2015, at least 1 study on CSR has been published in the Strategic Management Journal every year, and the years 2017 and 2020 stood out as the years in which the most CSR articles were published in the journal with 4 articles. Considering that at least 12 issues have been published in the journal since 2000, it would not be wrong to say that the interest in CSR studies has increased in recent years. When the studies are handled based on the regions where the data were collected, it is striking that the USA has an overwhelming superiority. It is seen that primary or secondary data of 19 studies were obtained from the USA, and 5 studies were conducted by collecting data from a large number of regions. Another remarkable finding is that only 1 of the 25 articles examined in the study was conducted in a sample of developing countries. It is thought-provoking that only one research has been conducted in the context of developing countries and that it has been 9 years since this research. Looking at the academics contributing to the journal with their CSR studies, Caroline Flammer from Boston University in the USA comes first with 5 studies, two of which are single-authored. When the authors are examined within the framework of the university they work in, the density of the USA stands out. While the primary author of 17 studies works at universities in the USA, 3 articles originate in England and 2 articles originate in Canada. It is seen that academicians from universities in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the Republic of Korea also contribute 1 article to the journal. The fact that these researchers in the Far East chose their study samples from the USA stands out as a remarkable data.

As a result, the remarkable findings of this study are that the number of studies titled CSR in the Strategic Management Journal has increased gradually since 2015, the financial performance of the enterprises is prominent in the concepts subject to the research, and the studies are mostly US-based and conducted in the USA sample. The fact that corporate social irresponsibility, which is the opposite dimension of CSR, is discussed only once in the articles, studies are carried out within the framework of developed countries and the importance and applicability of CSR in developing countries is mentioned in only one study, and the relationship of CSR with financial performance is mostly focused on appear as gaps in the literature. It would not be wrong to say that the results obtained from this study are limited to the articles in the Strategic Management Journal with "Corporate Social Responsibility" in their names due to time constraints and that Web of Science or Scopus databases can be selected as the research population for similar studies with greater scope. In this context, it is thought that this study will shed light on academicians working in the field of Strategic Management and considering working on CSR, by summarizing the situation and direction of CSR in the Strategic Management Journal, one of the leading journals in the field, and by revealing the gaps in the literature.

1970’lerden itibaren akademisyenlerin ilgi alanına giren kurumsal sosyal sorumluluk (KSS) kavramı, son yıllarda toplumun ve hükümetlerin de etkisiyle günümüz örgütlerinin stratejik yönetim süreçlerinin vazgeçilmez bir parçası olarak iş dünyasında da çok konuşulur hale gelmiştir. Bu çalışmada KSS’nin günümüz bilim dünyasındaki durumunun ortaya konulması amacıyla, Strategic Management Journal dergisinde geçmişten bugüne yayınlanan KSS konulu makaleler taranmış ve ulaşılan 25 makale okuyucuya sunulmuştur. Araştırma sonucunda KSS konusunun en çok Amerika Birleşik Devletleri’nde çalışıldığı, ele alınan konuların başında KSS – finansal performans ilişkisinin geldiği, KSS’nin gelişmekte olan ülkelerdeki durumunun yeteri kadar incelenmediği gibi bulgular elde edilmiştir.