From Reactionary to Revelatory: CSR Reporting in Response to the Global Refugee Crisis

Katherine R. Cooper, Rong Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Refugee concerns may be perceived as controversial or outside the business domain, yet some corporations publicly engage these issues in corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives. This article relies on institutional and constitutive approaches to CSR to explore why organizations might declare their engagement in refugee issues, and utilizes decoupling to explore the relationship between reported CSR policy and CSR activity. We utilize a mixed-method, content analysis approach to draw on Fortune Global 500 CSR reports between 2012 and 2019, a period in which refugee activity increased around the world. Our research suggests that few corporations offer refugee programming and fewer still feature programs that are “coupled” with either CSR policies or impacts. We introduce a typology that depicts these corporations as reactionary, recurring, relevant, or revelatory, and offer constitutive implications for CSR programming in response to other emerging social issues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-212
Number of pages28
JournalBusiness and Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2022.


  • constitutive communication
  • corporate social responsibility (CSR)
  • decoupling
  • emerging social issue
  • refugees

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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