Do stakeholder management strategy and
salience inﬂuence corporate social
responsibility in Indian companies?
Supriti Mishra and Damodar Suar
Purpose – This study aims to examine whether strategy towards primary stakeholders and their
salience inﬂuence corporate social responsibility towards the corresponding stakeholders.
Design/methodology/approach – Data were collected through a questionnaire from 150 senior level
managers including CEOs. The stakeholder management strategy, salience, and corporate social
responsibility were assessed in the context of employees, customers, investors, community, natural
environment, and suppliers.
Findings – The favorable strategy towards stakeholders increases the corresponding corporate social
responsibility towards them. The salience of all stakeholder groups also enhances the corresponding
corporate social responsibility. When salience and strategy are considered, the salience of a particular
stakeholder group suppresses the effect of strategy fully or partially on corporate social responsibility.
Research limitations/implications – The salience of a stakeholder is a potent antecedent of corporate
social responsibility compared with strategy towards that stakeholder.
Originality/value – A questionnaire is developed to assess corporate social responsibility in the Indian
context, and the link between strategy, salience, and corporate social responsibility is established.
Keywords Corporate image, Social responsibility, Stakeholders, India
Paper type Research paper
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) and stakeholder theory have emerged as important
areas of research in the ﬁeld of ‘‘business and society’’. Developments in both the ﬁelds have
occurred almost simultaneously since the early 1950s. A certain degree of convergence is
found between them as recent literature suggests that CSR can be analyzed and evaluated
more effectively from the perspective of stakeholders than from the perspective of CSR
(Clarkson, 1995). Research on CSR has mostly focused on its consequences, more
precisely on its inﬂuence on ﬁrm performance (Grifﬁn and Mahon, 1997; McGuire et al.,
1988; Ullman, 1985). Majority of studies on stakeholder management have also dealt with its
relation with ﬁrm performance (Grifﬁn and Mahon, 1997; Hillman and Keim, 2001; McGuire
et al., 1988; Waddock and Graves, 1997). Sparse research has probed the inﬂuence of
stakeholder management strategy and of stakeholder salience on CSR (Agle et al., 1999;
Savage et al., 1991). This paper intends to ﬁll this gap. It develops a framework to assess
CSR towards six primary stakeholder groups in the Indian context. It examines the inﬂuence
of strategy and salience on CSR and tests their relative strength in inﬂuencing CSR.
The basic idea of CSR is that business and society are interwoven rather than distinct entities
(Wood, 1991). Therefore, society has certain expectations for appropriate business behavior
(Wood, 1991) and business has an obligation to work for social betterment (Frederick, 1994).
SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY JOURNAL
VOL. 6 NO. 2 2010, pp. 306-327, Q Emerald Group Publishing Limited, ISSN 1747-1117 DOI 10.1108/17471111011051784
Supriti Mishra is based at
the HDF School of
Management, Orissa, India
and the Leonard N. Stern
School of Business, USA.
Damodar Suar is based at
the Indian Institute of