Corporate social responsibility in emerging social issues: (non)institutionalized practices in response to the global refugee crisis

Rong Wang, Katherine R. Cooper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Purpose: CSR reporting is an institutionalized practice. However, institutionalization has been primarily examined in the context of limited social issues and largely restricted to the presence of CSR communication. The purpose of this paper is to introduce a framework to explore how institutional and organizational factors shape CSR programming in response to an emerging social issue: the global refugee crisis. Design/methodology/approach: The authors collected corporate social responsibility (CSR) reports from Global 500 Fortune corporations between 2012 and 2017. This study uses content coding and inferential analysis to examine how industry type, headquarters location, and partnership resources are related to programming in the refugee relief efforts. Findings: The results reveal distinctive patterns from the technology sector and European corporations, with no clear patterns identified among other corporations. The findings indicate that although CSR is an institutionalized practice, CSR program reporting offers fewer insights as to how institutionalization occurs. Research limitations/implications: Results suggest a preliminary framework for understanding how CSR programming becomes institutionalized and provide implications for how corporations may address emerging social issues. Originality/value: This study applies an institutional, communicative approach to the context of the recent global refugee crisis, which contributes to theory development through the examination of an emerging social issue. It also extends prior research on the institutionalization of CSR by focusing on programming in response to an emerging social issue over time and suggests the limits of prior claims of institutionalized practices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)98-114
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Communication Management
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 23 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited.


  • CSR
  • Communication management
  • Corporate social resonsibility
  • Organizational communication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Strategy and Management


Dive into the research topics of 'Corporate social responsibility in emerging social issues: (non)institutionalized practices in response to the global refugee crisis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this