The convergence of corporate social responsibility practices
Purpose – This paper tries to explain why many socially-responsible firms appear to converge on a standard set of corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices instead of striving to differentiate themselves from rivals and achieve competitive advantage. Design/methodology/approach – Three explanations of this convergence are presented: herd behaviour, institutional isomorphism, and strategic cooperation. The different empirical predictions of these theories are laid down. The resulting framework is used to analyse a recent self-regulatory scheme launched by the steel industry, in which knowledge-sharing was used to stimulate poor performers to curb carbon dioxide emissions. Findings – Social practices of firms are very often driven by pressures to conform, instead of pressures to perform. Even firms that want to be innovative may be forced by stakeholder requests to adopt passive and imitative behaviour. Practical implications – The paper suggests that there are two types of CSR – convergent and divergent – and that firms need to establish which type of CSR best fits their needs before they address the issues raised by stakeholders. Originality/value – The literature on CSR focuses on the relationship between stakeholders and single firms. The paper tries to add to this literature by analysing the relationship between stakeholders and industries. The paper also contributes to the debate on the financial benefits of CSR by arguing that in industries where the convergent type of CSR is dominant researchers should not expect above-average returns for socially-responsible firms.
|Date of creation:||2010|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||Published in Management Research Review 7.33(2010): pp. 734-748|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Web page: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de
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- Sushil Bikhchandani & David Hirshleifer & Ivo Welch, 2010.
"A theory of Fads, Fashion, Custom and cultural change as informational Cascades,"
Levine's Working Paper Archive
1193, David K. Levine.
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- Ilídio Barreto & Charles Baden-Fuller, 2006. "To Conform or To Perform? Mimetic Behaviour, Legitimacy-Based Groups and Performance Consequences," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(7), pages 1559-1581, November.
- Anne Tempel & Peter Walgenbach, 2007. "Global Standardization of Organizational Forms and Management Practices? What New Institutionalism and the Business-Systems Approach Can Learn from Each Other," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(1), pages 1-24, 01.
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