“Implicit” and “Explicit” Csr: a Conceptual Framework for a Comparative Understanding of Corporate Social Responsibility

13330 WordsMay 21, 201354 Pages
Academy of Management Review 2008, Vol. 33, No. 2, 404–424. “IMPLICIT” AND “EXPLICIT” CSR: A CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK FOR A COMPARATIVE UNDERSTANDING OF CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY DIRK MATTEN York University, Toronto JEREMY MOON University of Nottingham We address the question of how and why corporate social responsibility (CSR) differs among countries and how and why it changes. Applying two schools of thought in institutional theory, we conceptualize, first, the differences between CSR in the United States and Europe and, second, the recent rise of CSR in Europe. We also delineate the potential of our framework for application to other parts of the global economy. In this paper we address the question of why forms of business…show more content…
First, if CSR has only recently entered the business debate and practice outside the United States, does this mean that, hitherto, non-U.S. corporations have neglected their social responsibility? Second, if “CSR has won the battle of ideas,” as even The Economist skeptically commented (Crook, 2005), why has it only now entered non-U.S. business agendas? We investigate these puzzles through two research questions. First, comparatively, why have U.S. corporations long made explicit their attachment to CSR, whereas European business responsibility to society has tended to be more implicit such that few specific corporate claims have been made? Here the comparison is between responsibility policies, programs, and practices enacted by and explicitly articulated by companies, on the one hand, and responsibility practices enacted by companies that reflect wider policy arrangements, and that are not articulated as reflecting these companies’ own discretion and initiative, on the other. In order to explore this question, we present a theoretical argument about the social responsibility of corporations reflecting the historical institutions of their national business systems. Second, temporally, why have European companies recently adopted a more explicit commitment to CSR resembling that of their U.S. counterparts? Here the focus is on why companies show a greater propensity to use their discretion to engage in firm-specific

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