Organizations are exposed to increasing pressures from their constituents to integrate corporate social responsibility (CSR) principles into their ongoing business practices. But accepting new and potentially open-ended commitments is not a harmless exercise, and companies may well expose themselves to serious risks when embracing such principles. To identify these risks, we conducted two naturalistic studies: one exploratory, the other corroborative. The results show that CSR adoption is associated with at least seven different business risks, ranging from failing strategy implementation to legitimacy destruction. To alleviate these risks, we discuss a set of managerial mitigation strategies that have the potential to realign companies’ CSR activities with their strategic objectives. Keywords corporate social responsibility - corporate social responsibility risks - managerial implications - mitigation strategies - strategy implementation - Trojan horses Pursey Heugens is an Associate Professor of Organization Theory in the Department of Business-Society Management at RSM Erasmus University. He received his PhD from the same school. His research interests span positive and normative theories of organizaton, including bureaucracy theory, neo-institutional theory, contractualist business ethics, and virtue ethics. Nikolay Dentchev is an independent research fellow at Ghent University, Belgium, and a project coordinator at the corporate venturing department of Fortis Group (Fortis Venturing). He holds a Ph.D. in business economics from Ghent University. His current research is related to entrepreneurship, instrumental stakeholder theory, and management challenges of corporate social responsibility.

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Heugens, P.P.M.A.R, & Dentchev, N.A. (2007). Taming Trojan Horses: Identifying and Mitigating Corporate Social Responsibility Risks. Journal of Business Ethics, 75(2), 151–170. doi:10.1007/s10551-006-9242-y