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Title: Changing ideas about corporate social responsibility (CSR) and development in context : the case of Mauritius
Author: Pillay, Renginee G.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2687 8866
Awarding Body: University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2009
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The idea of corporate social responsibility (CSR) has risen to prominence with remarkable rapidity in recent years. Although the literature on contemporary CSR has concentrated almost exclusively on advanced capitalist countries, CSR is increasingly being promoted in a developing country context as an important mechanism for furthering economic and social development goals. Yet, there is currently very limited research about whether contemporary CSR can in fact assist in development. This thesis seeks to contribute to the body of knowledge in this area. The first, theoretical, part of the thesis explores changing ideas about the nature of CSR, and argues that contemporary ideas of CSR are ameliorative in nature, marking a fundamental shift from the original, transformative, idea of the `socially responsible corporation', which emerged in the 1920s and 30s. The thesis also argues that with their emphasis on self-regulation and voluntarism, contemporary ideas about CSR are very much part and parcel of contemporary neo-liberal ideas about economic and social organisation. The second, empirical, part of the thesis seeks to investigate whether the model of CSR being deployed in the developing world is indeed a conservative one and, if so, whether this conservatism is likely to render it ineffectual. It explores how CSR is understood by its practitioners - company executives and other key players - in Mauritius, focusing on the impact of the concept on executive opinion by examining their rhetorical commitment to CSR as well as what that entailed in practice. The research suggests that executives in Mauritius tend to equate CSR with corporate philanthropy, which casts doubt on its ability to make a significant contribution to development. In light of the arguments developed in the thesis, one of its main conclusions is that a return to the earlier, more radical, conception of CSR is needed if CSR is really to make an important contribution to development.
Supervisor: Ireland, Paddy Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: K Law