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Title: Neo-institutionalism and corporate responsibility initiatives : the case of cement corporations in Mexico adopting the United Nations Global Compact
Author: Galindo Abarca, Maria Fernanda
ISNI:       0000 0004 5348 1792
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2014
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This study adds to institutional theory. It addresses the paradox of embedded agency, which has been central in the study of institutions and organizations, i.e. how can actors change institutions when they are conditioned by the same institution they are trying to change? This debate is addressed by analyzing the process organizations follow when adopting the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC). The research is based on theory generation from case study evidence. It is an interpretative study based on four cases of adoption of the UNGC in the cement industry in Mexico. The study takes into account the interaction between three levels of analysis: field; organizational; and individual. Early neo-institutional studies neglected intra-organizational phenomena. However, this study shows how individual behavior provides the micro-foundations necessary to address the paradox of embedded agency. The study relates theory to practice. It offers insight to the principle- and reporting-based Corporate Responsibility Initiatives (“CRIs”) phenomenon; there is no prior research on the process organizations follow when adopting these initiatives. This research constructs a model, showing how principle- and reporting-based CRIs are translated, not diffused, when incorporated by organizations. The process of translation explains how initiatives are reshaped and reinvented when taken-up by individuals in organizations. However the diffusion model is more accepted among managers, mainly because it offers the illusion of control, while the translation model shows the uncertainty and ambiguity of the adoption process (Czarniawska, 2008). At the individual-level, this study shows the active role of individuals in change processes. It explains how the recursive relationship between the actions of translators intending to change institutionalized practices, and the resistance they encounter, feeds the translation process. Translators are embedded in the organization and are reproducing established activities. But they use their embeddedness to overcome resistance and change the taken-for-granted way of working. At the organizational-level, this empirical study shows how change is a way of achieving the substantive implementation of newly adopted initiatives, and how resistance promotes change. The study shows how institutional pressures are influential; they result in processual isomorphism. The four organizations, despite their different governance structures, are following the same translation process. However, this study links the macro-processes of isomorphism to the microprocesses explaining intra-organizational phenomena; it finds that homogeneous processes also result in heterogeneous actions. The specific activities implemented by each organization are idiosyncratic. These heterogeneous actions are the result of the interaction between the institutional environment and the resistance encountered by translators within the organization. In this way, this study shows how the UNGC is impacting organizational practices. How much organizations benefit from joining the UNGC depends on the level of development of their CSR programs and strategies at the time of the UNGC's adoption.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (Mexico)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HD Industries. Land use. Labor