Journal Spotlight: Business & Society

Categories: Other, Research, Research Ethics

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April is a good time to explore SAGE journals you may not have had a chance to read. Log in here to browse and download articles. (See related post for search and navigation tips on the journal hub.) During this open-access month I will be highlighting some of my favorite SAGE journals, starting with Business & Society.


Business & Society offers research that matters.

Are you interested in the ways businesses interact with people, communities, and society? Are you concerned about ethics and social responsibility? You can read about these questions in the news, and turn to Business & Society for substantive explanations in empirically-based articles. While some studies lean more towards the business side, the wide-ranging research included in Business & Society mean this journal offers valuable food for thought to readers from across disciplines. Let’s look at a few examples.

Popular articles focus on social responsibility.

The newest articles published online in March include one about social activism (Sikavica, Perrault, & Rehbein, 2018), one about organizational mission in times of growth (Ometto, Gegenhuber, Winter, & Greenwood, 2018), and one about sustainability (Halme, Rintamäki, Knudsen, Lankoski, & Kuisma, 2018): all up- to-the-moment topics.

The articles listed as most read and most cited in the last year have a common theme: social responsibility. The authors discuss theories and practices in the context of corporations (Carroll, 1999; Chapple & Moon, 2005; de Graaf & Stoelhorst, 2009; Griffin & Mahon, 1997) and in small businesses (Spence, 2014). Carroll’s 1999 article was listed as most cited and most read. It undoubtedly appeals to readers who want to ground new research in a history of the concept and thinking about corporate social responsibility (CSR). de Graaf and Stoelhorst (2009) studied governance structures in Dutch Banks. They offer a model that could be useful for researchers in other fields, arguing that “a governance perspective offers a fruitful research strategy both to study empirically how firms balance the competing moral frameworks and political philosophies” (p.  282). Chapple and Moon (2005) demonstrate another research approach: analysis of companies’ Web site reporting of their CSR activities. Spence’s (2014) article aimed to expand core theory to the small firm context by theorizing small business social responsibility and demonstrating the value of feminist perspectives (p.24).

Research examples and methods for studying issues that cross sectors and disciplines

A search of this journal’s archives shows that the “society” part of Business & Society encompasses efforts by governments, NGOs or nonprofits and other entities. Contributors include researchers from the fields such as economics, sociology, psychology, finance, accounting, operations management, international business, and marketing. The journal includes studies that delve into these relationships, as well as guidance about conducting this kind of multidisciplinary research. A recent discussion by the journal’s editorial team: “Quants and poets: Advancing methods and methodologies in business and society research,” might be a place to start (Crane, Henriques, & Husted, 2018). Think you might want to publish in Business & Society? See the editors’ “Twelve tips for getting published in Business & Society” (Crane, Henriques, Husted, & Matten, 2017).

If your areas of interest include the intersections and connections between the for-profit and other sectors, take a look at the Business & Society journal. Share your favorite articles in the comment area.



Carroll, A. B. (1999). Corporate Social Responsibility: Evolution of a definitional construct. Business & Society, 38(3), 268-295. doi:10.1177/000765039903800303

Chapple, W., & Moon, J. (2005). Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in Asia: A seven-country study of CSR web site reporting. Business & Society, 44(4), 415-441. doi:10.1177/0007650305281658

Crane, A., Henriques, I., & Husted, B. W. (2018). Quants and poets: Advancing methods and methodologies in business and society research. Business & Society, 57(1), 3-25.

Crane, A., Henriques, I., Husted, B. W., & Matten, D. (2017). Twelve tips for getting published in Business & Society: SAGE Publications Sage CA: Los Angeles, CA.

de Graaf, F. J., & Stoelhorst, J. W. (2009). The role of governance in Corporate Social Responsibility: Lessons from Dutch finance. Business & Society, 52(2), 282-317. doi:10.1177/0007650309336451

Griffin, J. J., & Mahon, J. F. (1997). The corporate social performance and corporate financial performance debate: Twenty-five years of incomparable research. Business & Society, 36(1), 5-31. doi:10.1177/000765039703600102

Halme, M., Rintamäki, J., Knudsen, J. S., Lankoski, L., & Kuisma, M. (2018). When Is there a sustainability case for CSR? Pathways to environmental and social performance improvements. Business & Society, 0007650318755648. doi:10.1177/0007650318755648

Ometto, M. P., Gegenhuber, T., Winter, J., & Greenwood, R. (2018). From balancing missions to mission drift: The role of the institutional context, spaces, and compartmentalization in the scaling of social enterprises. Business & Society, 0007650318758329. doi:10.1177/0007650318758329


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