Corporate social responsibility in family firms: Insights from an Austrian multiple case study
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Motivated by the increased relevance of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in family firms (FFs) within recent decades, and the special characteristics of the Austrian economy (large proportion of FFs, the great influence of governmental and non-governmental organizations, and the recently started CSR discussion), we conduct a multiple case study to examine CSR in FFs. New insights from Austrian FFs show that the conceptual understanding of CSR is improvable, and CSR is strongly influenced by family members of the corporate family. The main motives for CSR engagement within FFs are image and reputation concerns, a strengthened regional embedment, and employee-related improvements. Furthermore, FFs prefer social CSR activities concerning employees and the close company surroundings, environmental CSR activities are determined by legal requirements and the need for the fulfilment of requirements to receive certifications, and CSR budgeting and planning are of minor importance within FFs. In general, CSR outcomes show positive effects on both the corporate family and the FF, for instance an increased image and reputation and a stronger regional involvement. We discuss our findings with socioemotional wealth (SEW) and stewardship theory as theoretical lens and end with a broad range of fruitful implications for corporate practice and future research.