Basu & Palazzo (2008)

General Review:

Highlights the need for further empirical inquiry to analyse CSR in a different way than the general CSR examination of why-what-how. They point at the The authors see the sense making process as a key to improve outcome success and sustainability of CSR strategies and initiatives. Three dimensions; COGNITIVE, LINGUISTIC and CONATIVE leading to an organisations CSR character (implicit or explicit attitude) is structured I a framework and described I a model of a CSR Sensemaking process.

Core Theory (logical explanation or testable model of interaction):

Cognitive, linguistic and conative interrelation.

CSR is developed in a process model of sense making. CSR is not a direct results of external demand but, instead from organizationally embedded cognitive (logic/reason) and linguistic processes. Mental models or frames that underlie sense making, influences the world is perceived, and thus the decisions within the organisation.

P124 Variety in CSR outcomes links to variety in sense making, based on organisational cognitive and linguistic sense making.

Analysing the pattern in organisational sense making, can assist in determining approach, benchmarking performance, understanding cultural differences and increase the value of outcomes if able to match organisational sense making to external sense making.

Core concepts (abstract idea or a mental symbol ):

Stakeholder driven CSR (largely external); Performance driven (strategy driven); Motivation driven (enhancing reputation, reducing risk, increasing customer loyalty or ethical motives).

Organisations acting within a perceived environment.

Core framework (structure used to outline, address or solve complex issues):



  1. individualistic, “the best in business or ahead of competition”
  2. relational, “we are committed to our customers, we aspire to become trusted partners”
  3. collectivistic, “we strive for a sustainable earth, and global well-being”


  1. pragmatic, “convince and control the environment/stakeholders”
  2. cognitive, “adapting to social expectations in environment/stakeholders”
  3. moral, “co-creating acceptable norms with environment/stakeholders”


  1. Justification “eg. self-interest justified by business action conflict with NGO”
    1. Legal – “providing legal justification”
    2. Scientific – “providing expert justification”
    3. Economic – “providing tangible stakeholder justification”
    4. + “Perhaps (ethical – providing a “higher order of interest” justification)”
  2. Transparency “valence of information”
    1. Balanced – “including both favourable and unfavourable outcomes”
    2. Biased – “only the favourable outcomes”
    1. Posture “reaction or interaction when faced with external criticism, or new challenges, determined by a calculation of consequences (economic and non-economic)”
  1. Defensive “do not accept feedback, failure in external adaptation”
  2. Tentative “uncertain as inexperienced, failure to address issue appropriate”
  • Open “share perceptions and discuss, leads to transformation”
  1. Consistency “between overall strategy and CSR”
  1. Consistent “embedding CSR in organisation and processes”
  2. Inconsistent “gearing up without direction”
  1. Commitment “shared determination to reach goal”
  1. Organisational leadership “driving force”
  2. Its depth “level of integration in operations”
  • Its span “involvement of partners in eg supply-chain”

Core models (pattern, plan or description showing main object or workings of concept):


Dimensions of the sensemaking process

Methods used:

Literature review


Pearce & Doh (2005: 31) “corporate engagement is social initiatives is now a given, and the “issue is not whether companies will engage socially” but finding appropriate ways of doing so.

Relatedness to objective:

Outcome quotes:

Porter & Kramer (2002) suggested competitive advantage

Gardberg & Fombrun (2006) drawn attention to reputation gain

Pearce and Doh (2005) has viewed outcomes in terms of organisational and societal welfare

Carlson & Perrewe 1995; Ciulla 1999; Paine 1996; Parry & Proctor-Thomson 2002; Weaver et al 1999) leadership key driver of corporate ethics contributing to a firms overall performance in terms of CSR

Relatedness to questions:

P124 Formulating hypotheses regarding varieties of CSR outcomes resulting from varieties in sense making processes.

Arguments/points made (set of one or more declarative sentences):

P124 Pfeffer(2005: 128) “What we do comes from what and how we think”

P124 “After all, decisions regarding CSR activities are made by managers and stem from their mental models regarding their sense of who they are in the world”.


Voegel, 2005; Walsh, Weber & Margolis 2003; Weaver et al 1999 – sees CSR as trading ground for claims


Sethi (2003) claims CSR impact to be sporadic at best, if not valued as business strategy

Porter & Kramer, 2002 – longitivity of CSR is determined by the persistence of the leader interest

Sethi 2003 and Dando and Swift 2003 CSR must be culturally attuned to responsible behaviour and equipped with systems to support successful implementation

Laufer 2003; Sims & Brinkmann 2003 determining whether CSR engagement is authentic or façade masking is key question


The physiological basis for perceptions, communication and behaviour is enormous and somewhat difficult to grasp.