CSR Maturity Model – Theoretical Framework

Ewa Głuszek

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12775/JCRL.2017.015


The article presents the author’s model of maturity of corporate social responsibility, which covers two main dimen-sions: cultural and strategic, and five levels of maturity. Each dimension contains a number of characteristics that describe it, and the description differs for each level. The cultural dimension is related to the concepts of the culture of stakeholders presented by Maon, Lindgreen and Swaen (2010), and previous proposals by Jones, Felps and Bigley (2007), and contains one variable: a stake-holder culture type. The second dimension, strategic, contains two sub-dimensions. The first one is the type of CSR (the distinction between the type of corporate social responsibility), referring to the concepts of Kourula and Halme (2008), and Rangan et al. (2012). The second sub-dimension is the sphere of influence con-cept, or the limits of corporate responsibility that it is willing to accept – based on Wood’s (2012) and Baumol’s (1970) concepts. Depending on the company’s culture of stakeholders, the type of CSR involved, and the sphere of influence involved, the enter-prise can be found at one of five levels of maturity: Elementary, Engaged, Innovative, Integrated, or Transformational.

Purpose: The article is an attempt of conceptualization CSR according to a more dynamic application orientated perspective. The aim is understanding in what way the social responsibility can develop and root in the company’s management system. The use of the maturity model will allow managers to determine at what stage of CSR development their company is located.

Design/methodology/approach: The research method is based on the analysis of the subject literature and evaluation of the results of the research procedure.

Findings: Depending on the company’s culture of stakeholders, the type of CSR involved, and the sphere of influence involved, the enterprise can be found at one of five levels of maturity: Elementa-ry, Engaged, Innovative, Integrated, or Transformational.

Research and practical limitations/implications: The presented model contains only a very general theoretical framework, but will allow for the development of the characteristics in the future and to operationalize them to give managers clear guidance as to what the company is doing well and which practices should still be implemented or further developed.

Originality/value: A different conceptions of organisational development are matching with evolutionary nature of CSR. The main advantage of using the maturity model is the ability to determine at what stage of development the social responsibility of the company is located. Self-assessment with such a model provides managers with the knowledge of what the company is already doing in the field and what areas it should still pay atten-tion to possibly develop its CSR. The theoretical framework for the development of social responsibility presented in the article will also allow for further directions, in-depth empirical research, verifying the consistency of issues contained in particular char-acteristics (dimensions and levels) and the actual development of such practices in Polish companies.

Paper type: working paper.


maturity model; corporate social responsibility; stake-holder culture; CSR type; sphere of influence

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