The Dark Side of Stakeholder Reactions to Corporate Social Responsibility: Tensions and Micro‐level Undesirable Outcomes

François Maon, Joëlle Vanhamme, Kenneth De Roeck, Adam Lindgreen, Valérie Swaen

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With a review of literature on corporate social responsibility (CSR) and its micro‐level impacts, this paper proposes an integrative framework to map undesirable relational outcomes of CSR activities on internal (employees) and external (customers) stakeholders. By adopting a paradox‐based perspective, the authors determine that unexpected, adverse stakeholder reactions to CSR are driven primarily by either performing or belonging tensions, related to exchange‐ and identity‐based stakeholder concerns, respectively. Specifically, contextual and personal influences can trigger and explain undesirable relational outcomes of CSR. On this basis, this paper offers a research agenda for developing a more refined understanding of CSR‐related tensions and a more nuanced perspective on the business case for CSR.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Management Reviews
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)209–230
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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