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CSR-Based Political Legitimacy Strategy: Managing the State by Doing Good in China and Russia


  • Meng Zhao



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

Suggested Citation

  • Meng Zhao, 2012. "CSR-Based Political Legitimacy Strategy: Managing the State by Doing Good in China and Russia," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 111(4), pages 439-460, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jbuset:v:111:y:2012:i:4:p:439-460
    DOI: 10.1007/s10551-012-1209-6

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Abagail McWilliams & Donald S. Siegel & Patrick M. Wright, 2006. "Corporate Social Responsibility: Strategic Implications," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(1), pages 1-18, January.
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    5. Bryan W Husted & David B Allen, 2006. "Corporate social responsibility in the multinational enterprise: strategic and institutional approaches," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 37(6), pages 838-849, November.
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    7. Jun Su & Jia He, 2010. "Does Giving Lead to Getting? Evidence from Chinese Private Enterprises," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 93(1), pages 73-90, April.
    8. Roberts, Robin W., 1992. "Determinants of corporate social responsibility disclosure: An application of stakeholder theory," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 17(6), pages 595-612, August.
    9. Arthaud-Day, Marne L., 2005. "Transnational Corporate Social Responsibility: A Tri-Dimensional Approach to International CSR Research," Business Ethics Quarterly, Cambridge University Press, vol. 15(01), pages 1-22, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:spr:manint:v:55:y:2015:i:6:d:10.1007_s11575-015-0248-5 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Zelong Wei & Hao Shen & Kevin Zheng Zhou & Julie Juan Li, 2017. "How Does Environmental Corporate Social Responsibility Matter in a Dysfunctional Institutional Environment? Evidence from China," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 140(2), pages 209-223, January.
    3. Renata Skýpalová & Renata Kučerová & Veronika Blašková, 2016. "Development of the Corporate Social Responsibility Concept in Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises," Prague Economic Papers, University of Economics, Prague, vol. 2016(3), pages 287-303.
    4. Zhu, Qinghua & Liu, Junjun & Lai, Kee-hung, 2016. "Corporate social responsibility practices and performance improvement among Chinese national state-owned enterprises," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 171(P3), pages 417-426.
    5. Dan Shen & Jin Jun Bo, 2014. "Corporate Social Responsibility And Emancipatory Accounting: Roles Of Non-Governmental Organisations In Transformative Change In China," Economy & Business Journal, International Scientific Publications, Bulgaria, vol. 8(1), pages 96-110.
    6. Eshani Beddewela & Jenny Fairbrass, 2016. "Seeking Legitimacy Through CSR: Institutional Pressures and Corporate Responses of Multinationals in Sri Lanka," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 136(3), pages 503-522, July.
    7. repec:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2018:i:3:p:741-:d:135242 is not listed on IDEAS


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