Policies without plans? Sequential CSR responses and the role of resources for policy implementation

Nikolas Rathert, Georg Wernicke, Brayden King

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting AbstractOther research output


Research on organizational responsiveness to stakeholder pressure has often assumed that firms are capable of intentionally selecting symbolic or substantive responses as such pressures occur. As such, decoupling – gaps between policy adoption and implementation – results from strategic considerations by managers. In this paper, we rethink these assumptions and develop a theory of sequential responses to stakeholder pressure. We show that sequential responses – whereby firms exhibit time gaps between policy adoption and their implementation and decoupling is temporary – are a common empirical occurrence. Focusing on the key role of organizational resources, we hypothesize that the likelihood of sequential responses and the timing of implementation depend on the availability of structural and attentional resources that enable firms to implement policies faster. We find considerable support for our hypotheses using a sample of US firms in the issue domain of consumer safety.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAcademy of Management Proceedings
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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