Corporate social responsibility: engaging the community

Deigh, Linda, Farquhar, Jillian, Palazzo, Maria and Siano, Alfonso (2016) Corporate social responsibility: engaging the community. Qualitative Market Research, 19 (2). pp. 225-240. ISSN 1352-2752


This paper extends corporate social responsibility (CSR) theory by exploring how firms engage with community. The community is frequently cited as a stakeholder of the firm but in spite of its status in networks has not been the focus of research. Drawing on community theory and Carroll’s pyramid for the foundation of our study, we undertake an empirical investigation to advance knowledge in CSR engagement with a particular stakeholder group.

To generate in-depth insight, the study adopts a multiple case study approach involving the purposeful selection of three retail banks in Ghana as units of analysis. It draws on multiple data sources to strengthen its findings.

The study finds that community engagement consists of four spheres of activity: donations, employee voluntarism, projects and partnerships. Philanthropy forms part of largely ad hoc CSR actions by firms. The study also finds that philanthropy is not merely a desired function of the CSR pyramid but an essential one.

Social implications:
This research imparts increased understanding of how firms engage with an important but frequently overlooked stakeholder group-community.

This study presents specific theoretical extensions to CSR through its identification of four core activities of community engagement.

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