CSR-Based Political Legitimacy Strategy: Managing the State by Doing Good in China and Russia
The state is a key driver of corporate social responsibility across developed and developing countries. But the existing research provides comparatively little knowledge about: (1) how companies strategically manage the relationship with the state through corporate social responsibility (CSR); (2) how this strategy takes shape under the influence of political institutions. Understanding these questions captures a realistic picture of how a company applies CSR to interacting with the state, particularly in countries where the state relationship is critical to the business operation. This article draws on political legitimacy as a useful concept to directly address both strategic and politically embedded natures of CSR. This work extends the currently under-specified political implication of the strategic view of CSR and provides fresh insights to the political legitimacy research by specifying a typology of CSR-based legitimacy strategies and its contextual variation. China and Russia are the focal settings. A qualitative analysis of business–state interaction cases is done using a database that contains the majority of CSR reports published in Chinese and Russian as the end of 2009. As a result, this paper identifies four qualitatively different types of CSR-based political legitimacy strategies and reveals how the adoption of these strategies differs across Chinese companies, Russian companies, and multinational corporations. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012
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