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Why do corporate actors engage in prosocial activities? A Bourdieusian perspective on CSR

Authors/Editors: Seidl, D.
Splitter, V.
van Aaken, Dominik
Published: 2013
Type: Articles in Refereed Journals (International)
ISBN/ISSN: 1350-5084
Published by: Organization
Additional information: 20. Jg., Nr. 3, S. 349-371
Additional information: Ranking VGB 2.1: B


Drawing on Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of social practice, this article develops a novel approach to the study of corporate social responsibility (CSR). According to this approach, pro-social activities are conceptualized as social practices that individual managers employ in their efforts to attain social power. Whether such practices are enacted or not depends on (1) the particular features of the social field; (2) the individual managers’ socially shaped dispositions and (3) their stock of different forms of capital. By combining these theoretical concepts, the Bourdieusian approach we develop highlights the interplay between the economic and non-economic motivations that underlie CSR, acknowledging influences both on the micro- and the macro-level, as well as deterministic and voluntaristic aspects of human behaviour.