Institutional Dynamics and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in an Emerging Country Context: Evidence from China
This study identifies unique corporate social responsibility (CSR) dimensions and develops a framework to analyze different levels of institutional dynamics in understanding CSR in China. Based on multiple case studies of 16 firms, the article examines the CSR philosophy and approach in China’s emerging market. The findings suggest that Chinese CSR understanding is largely grounded in the context of ethical and discretionary actions. This focus is mainly attributed to the dominant role of ethical leadership, governmental dependency, and cultural traditions in Chinese CSR. Moreover, the weakness or the absence of conducive social normative environment and positive peer pressure, and misalignment between CSR and organizational design further contribute to a lack of systemic and institutionalized approach to CSR in China. Our study implies that CSR is still evolving at a preliminary stage in China, and institutional infrastructure and cultural ethics are exerting abiding influence on CSR approach in the emerging economies. The article also suggests the implications for practice and policy making. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012
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