Unknown Knowns and Known Unknowns: Framing the Role of Organizational Learning in Corporate Social Responsibility Development

Zeynep Fortis, François Maon, Jeff Frooman, Gerald Reiner

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review


Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is now widely seen as an increasingly significant concern for firms because of moral, relational and instrumental motives. Nevertheless, practical aspects and challenges associated with CSR development in firms remains only partially understood. In this setting, the organizational learning (OL) discipline is recurrently put forward as key in the pursuit and successful development of CSR, but the existing literature remains disjointed. This study critically reviews the existing literature to conceptualize how research to date has approached CSR development in terms of OL, and to provide a two‐dimensional structuring framework of the role of OL in CSR development that emphasizes key OL‐related aspects supporting CSR development and goes beyond an organization‐centric viewpoint to consider not only learning within the organization, but also from others, and with others. In particular, the authors identify key learning processes and sub‐processes and critical areas that remain understudied. Overall, the authors propose a macro view of the work done to date at the intersection of OL and CSR, and in doing so help make the ‘OL for CSR development’ scholarship more recognizable as a sub‐discipline.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277 - 300
JournalInternational Journal of Management Reviews (IJMR)
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Austrian Classification of Fields of Science and Technology (ÖFOS)

  • 502052 Business administration
  • 502022 Sustainable economics

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