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TBGI Working Paper 2

The Embededdness of Responsible Business Practice: National Institutional Environments and Corporate Social Responsibility

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Luc Fransen

July 2012

Abstract

Academic literature recognizes that firms in different countries deal with Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in different ways. Because of this, analysts presume that variations in national institutional arrangements affect CSR practices. Literature however lacks specificity in determining, first, what parts of national political economic configurations actually affect CSR practices; second, the precise aspects of CSR affected by national-institutional variables; third, how causal mechanisms between national institutional framework variables and aspects of CSR practices work. Because of this the literature is not able to address to what extent CSR practices are affected by either global or national policies, discourses and economic pressures; and to what extent CSR evolves as either an alternative to or an extension of national institutional arrangements. This paper proposes an alternative approach that focuses on an exploration of links between disaggregated variables, which can then be the basis for imagining new national-institutional configurations affecting aspects of CSR.

Keywords

Corporate Social Responsibility; national institutions; political economy; varieties of capitalism; globalization