Title: The effect of changing economic conditions on attitudes toward corporate social responsibility

Authors: Brenda E. Ghitulescu; Joao S. Neves

Addresses: School of Business, The College of New Jersey, Ewing, NJ 08628-0718, USA. ' School of Business, The College of New Jersey, Ewing, NJ 08628-0718, USA

Abstract: Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has received considerable attention in management research and public debate. The recent financial crisis and the subsequent economic downturn have renewed interest in CSR and the various stakeholders' expectations with regard to social responsibility practices. The purpose of this study is to examine business students' concept of CSR with a special emphasis on understanding which stakeholders are viewed as more important, and to investigate the impact of the general economic environment on CSR attitudes. Using a sample of 278 undergraduate business students, we find that the economic context of a firm has a significant impact on students' attitudes toward the firm's CSR activities. Although women have a greater concern for ethical and social responsibilities than men, gender is not a factor in the change of attitudes when the general economic environment worsens. We discuss the implications of our findings and provide avenues for future research.

Keywords: corporate social responsibility; student attitudes; corporate stakeholders; CSR dimensions; economic downturn; business students; corporate governance; ethical responsibilities; ethics.

DOI: 10.1504/IJBGE.2012.047540

International Journal of Business Governance and Ethics, 2012 Vol.7 No.2, pp.153 - 171

Published online: 26 Jun 2012 *

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