Cognitive processes in the CSR decision-making process: a sensemaking perspective
Applying the sensemaking perspective in the field of corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a recent but promising development. Using an in-depth exploratory case study, we analyze and discuss the CSR character of British American Tobacco (BAT) Switzerland. Our findings indicate that BAT Switzerland does not follow traditional patters of building CSR. BAT Switzerland can be classified as a “legitimacy seeker,” characterized mainly by a relational identity orientation and legitimation strategies that might provide pragmatic and/or cognitive legitimacy. We conclude that understanding the cognitive processes underlying the CSR decision-making process is of fundamental value when analyzing and changing the CSR approach of a firm. We discuss boundary conditions of the CSR character framework and expand it by differentiating between process and product legitimacy, as both perspectives have important but possibly different implications for the firm.
Citation : Richter, U. H., and Arndt, F. F. (2016) Cognitive processes in the CSR decision-making process: a sensemaking perspective. Journal of Business Ethics.
Peer Reviewed : Yes