An analysis of corporate social responsibility at credit line: a narrative approach

Michael Humphreys, Andrew D. Brown

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This paper presents the results of an inductive, interpretive case study. We have adopted a narrative approach to the analysis of organizational processes in order to explore how individuals in a financial institution dealt with relatively novel issues of corporate social responsibility (CSR). The narratives that we reconstruct, which we label ‘idealism and altruism’, ‘economics and expedience’, and ‘ignorance and cynicism’ illustrate how people in the specific organizational context of a bank (‘Credit Line’ ) sought to cope with an attempt at narrative imposition. In particular, our work exemplifies how people in organizations draw on shared discursive resources in order to make sense of themselves and their organizations. We illustrate how many people within the bank found it hard to integrate the normative case for CSR with their version of a narrative identity which had, and continued to be, centred on economic imperatives for new initiatives. Our paper both demonstrates the value of the analysis of shared narratives, and represents an attempt to deal adequately with the polyphony of organizational voices, in case studies of CSR.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)403-418
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • sensemaking
  • identity
  • case study.
  • narrative
  • power
  • Corporate social responsibility


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