The Power of the "Good" Corporation: exploring the Role of Corporate Agency in Corporate Social Responsibility in Developing Countries

Duration: August 2013 to August 2014

Research team

  • Dr Ben Neville, Business and Economics, UoM
  • Dr Sara Bice, Arts, UoM

Project summary

Understanding how corporate social responsibility (CSR) varies across the world has tended to utilise an institutional, national business system or varieties of capitalism lens. While much has been gained through this research, it has tended to frame firms as being passive in the context of external, contextual pressures. Yet, firms retain considerable agency in the form and extent of CSR that they practice. We suggest that firm agency will be particularly prevalent in environments with relatively weaker institutions and where firms are relatively more powerful. As CSR in these contexts often replaces government provision of services, CSR may support or clash with expectations of political governance and democracy. There is a need, therefore, to understand and integrate notions of power and agency with the current institutionally-focused understanding of comparative CSR. This project is proposed to set the foundations for an extensive exploration of the role of power in comparative CSR through a focus on the mining industry in developing countries, where we expect power in CSR to be exemplified.

Research program

Governing Markets