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EMAC 2019 Annual Conference

Flying Under the Radar vs. CSR Walk or Talk: CSR Engagement in the Fashion Industry

Published: May 28, 2019


Mariachiara Colucci, University of Bologna; Annamaria Tuan, University of Pisa; Marco Visentin, University of Bologna


CSR engagement; company size; fashion industry


In this study we investigate the determinants leading fashion companies to engage in CSR. We propose an original framework in which we maintain that the company size alone, discussed and tested in the literature, cannot explain the different patterns of CSR engagement, and suggest that the key to account for such differences can be found in the relationship between the company’s type of business – a proxy of the way the company creates value for its market through its product offer – and its served market – a proxy of the institutional pressure that may come from the customers. We test our framework on a sample of 219 small and large fashion companies, gathered at the global-level. Results support our predictions and disregard the role of company size in explaining the patterns of CSR engagement, rather it simply explains whether companies “fly under the radar” or not. The original approach of this paper offers a new and more fine-grained narrative of why companies decide to adopt different practices of CSR.