The main purpose of this thesis is to study the dynamics of the underlying institutional factors and the related isomorphic pressures, and organizational self-interests that are influencing organizations to adopt explicit and implicit forms of CSR. This is a subject that has not been studied in the literature, and is pertinent because developing countries contain a large proportion of the world’s population, and subsequently a large proportion of issues in the social, economic, and environmental arena.
The conceptual lens used in this study was institutional theory, specifically neo institutional primarily because of its inherent contention that both contextual and institutional environments influence norms and practices of CSR (Campbell 2007). A qualitative research design involving a multiple case study was used in this thesis with theoretically based propositions to guide the research.
This study identifies that in the developing country context chosen explicit CSR initiatives are driven by predominantly normative and mimetic institutional pressures emanating from both local and international institutions. This study also identifies that implicit CSR initiatives are driven by normative institutional pressures emanating from elements in the national business system.
Although this study has conducted research in a developing country context, one cannot generalize the findings. This study uses purposeful sampling, interviews were conducted with strategic and operational managers involved in CSR, and uses an institutional perspective to study the subject at hand. Future research can use a different sampling technique, conduct interviews employees that are not directly involved with CSR initiatives, and may use other perspectives such as agency theory, or theory of institutional logics to gain more insight on the topic.
Practical implications include a conceptual model to aid future research, identifying the importance of CSR duality in studies conducted in developing countries, identifying the importance of international institutions in facilitating explicit CSR proliferation in developing countries, and identifying the importance for organizations to develop implicit CSR into explicit CSR to gain international legitimacy.
This thesis is unique because it utilizes neo-institutional theory and the duality of CSR to study the institutionalization of CSR in developing country context. This study can be used by researchers, by international organizations and governments in creation of strategies to increase CSR proliferation in developing country contexts, and by business organizations that are interested in using CSR as part of their organizational mandate.Keywords:
CSR, developing countries, institutional theory.