Incorporating the Concepts of Sharing-In and Sharing-Out in CSR: Australian Consumers’ Perspective Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is based on attending to concerns beyond a corporation’s shareholders. This concern embraces the concepts of sharing and caring for others. Logically then, the literature on sharing might inform theory and practice around CSR initiatives. To date, however, theory around the theme of sharing is absent from extant CSR literature, and, presumably, it is omitted as a perspective on CSR practice. This paper addresses this gap by empirically investigating consumers’ responses to different types of sharing involved in a range of CSR initiatives. We test the sharing theory to provide generalizable conclusions. Data was collected via an online panel of Australian consumers. Findings reveal two distinct types of sharing across different CSR initiatives: Sharing-in and sharing-out. Sharing-in CSR initiatives are those perceived as being adopted for the benefit of the firm’s direct stakeholders and aimed at providing a direct, reciprocal benefit to the firm. Conversely, sharing-out initiatives are perceived as providing wider and unconditional support to all, irrespective of their proximity to the firm. This research makes an original contribution to the CSR literature by embedding the notion of sharing within the management of CSR initiatives. The sharing perspective adds to knowledge and may assist managers when developing CSR initiatives, and how those initiatives might be perceived by a firm’s relevant stakeholders.

publication date

  • 2019