Stakeholder prioritizing in the midst of an economic crisis: A multi-firm, multi-sector study
The purpose of this study is to identify the patterns of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities, in adverse economic circumstances, so as to understand the importance ascribed by the companies to each of their stakeholders. Prior research on stakeholder salience has looked into various issues related to the relative attention given to corporate stakeholders by management, however, none has examined what this relationship looks like following a prolonged economic crisis. We investigate the activities of CSR in Greece, examining how companies spend their CSR resources in a depressed economy, studying the respective activity patterns of the companies listed on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE). Content analysis is used, thoroughly examining all public data available on the internet from 175 companies. The study includes data reported in 2014, collected at the end of 2015. Our results demonstrate that, the most popular CSR activities related to the human resources and the least practiced were the society and environment related ones. The findings show concern for the employees of the companies and their morale, superseding the interest for the other stakeholder categories in spite of the crisis and the soaring unemployment rate. Moreover, a significant divergence emerged between the CSR programs of the various industries. This indicates that for reasons unbeknownst to us, companies are placing less emphasis on consumers, environment and the society and tend to cater to the needs of their internal constituents.
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