Academic journal article Journal of Business Strategies

Global Corporate Social Responsibilities Management in MNCS

Academic journal article Journal of Business Strategies

Global Corporate Social Responsibilities Management in MNCS

Article excerpt

Abstract

The management of global corporate social responsibilities (CSR) in MNCs is less understood. This paper presents an analysis of CSR management in the global operations of two MNCs of British origin, operating in diverse sectors. The paper presents in-depth empirical analysis of CSR practices in routine stakeholder relations of these MNCs, across multiple levels within the MNC and across multiple levels of its context. The study reveals that global CSR management resulted from interplay of firms 'strategic choices, internal design processes, as well as influences of regulatory, normative and cognitive environment at the multiple levels of the MNC context.

Introduction

MNCs are under increasing pressure for socially responsible behavior in their global operations. However, global corporate social responsibility and the management of CSR behaviors in global operations remains less understood (Wood and Pasquero, 1997; Wartick and Wood, 1998; Freeman, 1997). The national business environments are increasingly promoting CSR (for example, see Bondy, Matten, Moon, 2004; Moon, 2004). Furthermore, there are several emerging global guidelines and voluntary initiatives seeking to improve CSR in global operations (Waddock, Bodwell, Graves, 2002). These trends in MNCs' environmental context need to be further supported by investigation of management of CSR in the global operations of MNCs and the environmental drive that influence global CSR management in MNCs. The present paper meets this gap by providing empirical study of management of global CSR in two MNCs of British origin. It provides a multilevel analysis of management of CSR in these firms, revealing several influences of the local, national and global environments on CSR management in these MNCs.

MNCs are complex differentiated networks marked with internal heterogeneity and with the complexity of managing across globally dispersed, diverse units (Bartlett and Ghoshal, 1989; Ghoshal and Nohria, 1989, Hedlund 1986, Hedlund & Rolander, 1990). MNCs are faced with diverse stakeholder environments across their international operations. This has several implications for MNCs' management of stakeholder relations across the multiple levels and diverse contexts of its operations. Global CSR management also involves cross-border transfer and management of CSR practices, from one part of the MNC to another, as well as the management of local CSR practices suited to the local context of the subsidiary units.

The management of CSR in the global operations of MNCs, discussed in this paper, is an empirical in-depth investigation using an embedded sample of eight case studies across two MNCs of UK origin, and across four stakeholder dimensions within these MNCs. The analysis of self-reported CSR practices in these MNCs revealed the globally-managed CSR practices and their transnational management processes, as well as several CSR practices not transnationally managed across multiple units and levels of the MNC and also several local CSR practices.

The review of literature presents the existing understanding of management of global CSR and several arising unanswered questions. It notes that the management of CSR in global firms involves internal coordination processes, as well as environmental influences at multiple levels of MNC operations, however these are less understood. The exploratory study undertaken for this research, using multiple embedded case studies is then briefly presented. The empirical findings of MNCs' management of CSR in routine stakeholder relations, with employees, consumers, environment and communities are presented. Influences of the home country environment in the UK, as well as the global and local environments faced by these MNCs are analyzed. Then contributions of this research in advancing our understanding of CSR management in international operations are presented. Finally, the limitations of this research and avenues for future research are outlined. …

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