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Title: When corporations leave home : global corporate social responsibility and varieties of capitalism
Author: Thissen-Smits, Marianne
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2013
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Today, multinational corporations demonstrate commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) by adopting global voluntary initiatives and codes of conduct and by publishing annual reports on their social behaviour. This research examines how the cross-­‐ country variation of CSR behaviour of firms can be explained by the ‘Varieties of Capitalism' theory, and explores whether the CSR behaviour of firms changes when operating across borders. A large-­‐N sample of the Fortune global 500 firms and a small-­‐N sample of five multinational oil companies operating in Nigeria were taken to test the research hypotheses, using quantitative and qualitative research methods. Some support was found for the Varieties of Capitalism theory. In particular, firms from the United States, a liberal market economy, are less likely to adopt global voluntary initiatives compared with firms from coordinated market economies or Mediterranean-­‐type economies. State-­‐owned firms, which are mainly headquartered in non-­‐OECD countries, are also less likely to adopt global initiatives, but the ones that do have high levels of adherence. External actors, such as international organisations, civil society organisations and philanthropic organisations are important in influencing a firm's commitment to CSR. Content analysis reveals that, in general, all corporations report on the same topics, with emphasis placed on what is perceived to be important to the stakeholders. This research found that the adoption of global initiatives and the reporting on social behaviour are headquarters-­‐orientated activities, and that there is often a disconnection in corporate social behaviour between the headquarters and the subsidiary. Because the CSR behaviour of firms clearly changes when operating across borders, the participation in voluntary initiatives should be done at a local and at headquarter level. Furthermore, the lack of participation in global initiatives by US firms and subsidiaries raises questions about the effectiveness and purpose of these initiatives.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: College of Arts and Social Sciences ; University of Aberdeen
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Corporations ; Social responsibility of business