The interpretation and integration of corporate social responsibility in a multinational corporation

Vigneau, Laurence (2014) The interpretation and integration of corporate social responsibility in a multinational corporation. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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The goal of this research project is to explore the processes involved in the management of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in a multinational corporation (MNC). Managing CSR in an MNC is a multifaceted task as it involves the interpretation of a complex (and sometimes conflicting) global institutional landscape (Scherer, Palazzo & Seidl, 2013) as well as the enactment of commitment to CSR and subsequent operationalization of CSR activities across subsidiaries. However, little is known about these interpretation and integration processes involved in the international management of CSR in an MNC. This research project therefore seeks to investigate how organizational actors interpret, communicate and operationalize CSR across units within an MNC.

In doing so, the thesis explores two areas of CSR management. First, the study analyses the processes of integration of CSR by investigating how organizational actors make sense of CSR, develop accounts and finally take actions. Second, the research project explores the processes of international management of CSR across different units within an MNC by examining how organizational actors across the firm coordinate their CSR practices. In order to investigate these issues, the research project takes an institutional theory approach (Boxenbaum, 2006; Kostova & Roth, 2002) that draws on sensemaking (Maitlis, 2005; Weick, 1995) to study international CSR management (Husted & Allen, 2006; Jamali, 2010). The research therefore lies at the intersection between organizational studies, international business and CSR. In terms of research design, the research is based on a qualitative case study conducted in a North American MNC, which compares and contrasts CSR management practices in three offices, the headquarters and two subsidiaries.

Through this analysis, the thesis makes several contributions on different aspects related to CSR management. First, the study provides theoretical and empirical insight into the intra-organizational processes of integration of CSR within a corporation. It enhances our understanding of the translation of complex institutional pressures inside a firm; the influence of reporting on the standardization of CSR practices; as well as the processes involved in the enactment of CSR commitment in behaviour. Second, the research project contributes to existing knowledge on the international management of CSR. It sheds light on the external and internal factors influencing the coordination of CSR practices across the different units of the MNC by providing an account of the interplay between local (i.e. subsidiaries characteristics) and global (i.e. new global governance structure) environments. It examines issues involved in the alignment of CSR across units and specifically discusses the relationships between units in the management of CSR. Finally, the thesis combines these two areas of research to provide a process model of CSR management in MNCs.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Moon, J.W.
Humphreys, M.
Keywords: Corporate social responsibility; multinational corporations; institutional theory; qualitative case study
Subjects: H Social sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > Nottingham University Business School
Item ID: 14342
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 28 Oct 2014 13:16
Last Modified: 17 Dec 2017 05:39

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