Publication details for Dr Rebecca StratlingStratling, R. (2007). The legitimacy of corporate social responsibility. Corporate Ownership and Control 4(4): 65-73.
- Publication type: Journal papers: academic
- ISSN/ISBN: 1727-9232, 1810-3057
- View online: Online version
- Durham research online: DRO record
Author(s) from Durham
Based on deliberations on the legitimacy of CSR from the perspective of stakeholder and legitimacy
theory on the one hand and the more critical view of Milton Friedman and Michael Jenson on the
other hand, this paper analyses how major energy companies legitimise their CSR activities in their
Annual Reports and their CSR reports. The research indicates that managers recognise the potential
contribution of CSR to long-term financial performance of firms as well as the need to socially
legitimise the firm’s operations. A surprisingly limited number of the companies in the sample take a
very explicit strategic approach to CSR by stressing long-term shareholder value maximisation. The
CSR policies therefore appear not to focus solely on a strategic stakeholder approach geared towards
maximising shareholder value but to reflect considerations raised by legitimacy theory.