The Potential of Place to Authenticate Corporate Social Responsibility

Anthony Samuel, Gareth White, Daniel Taylor

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


    This paper argues it pertinent to consider the development of authentic Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) through the work of Tuan (1977) who recognized the importance that humans attribute to place. Place, he argued, offers us security and as we attach meaning to it, and organize it, we imbue it with value and thus perceive the places we socially construct as ‘ours’ and as authentic. Of specific interest to CSR authenticity is how stakeholders view place and how these views offer a sense of belonging built on memories and achievements that Tuan (1977, 154) claims ‘inspire the present’. Place we therefore suggest can represent the authentic as its permanence reassures us in a world that is constantly in a state of flux. Perkins & Thorns (2013.13) suggested that place should be viewed as ‘social special interactions of everyday life’ that facilitates who we are. Given people’s profound attachment to place, CSR campaigns that engage with place have the potential to be perceived as authentic. However, the literature warns us that authenticity through place must come from the perspective and understanding of the stakeholder groups who hold such places dear to them. Subsequently, one’s attachment to place, if managed appropriately through stakeholder engagement, has the potential to play a role in delivering authenticity in CSR campaigning. This view further highlights the importance of stakeholder engagement in CSR. As Beverland (2009, 157) said; ‘at a time when consumers find that traditional markers of identity make less and less sense in a globalized, borderless, multicultural world, brands that allow them to connect to national traditions and identity (even if they are stereotypes), regional place and traditions, industry, cultural ideals and subcultures are critical for achieving self-authentication in the marketplace. Authentic brands may operate globally, but they never forget the local.’
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 2017
    EventInternational Conference on Social Responsibility, Ethics and Sustainable Business - Berlin, Germany
    Duration: 1 Jul 20172 Jul 2017


    ConferenceInternational Conference on Social Responsibility, Ethics and Sustainable Business


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