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Title: Transferability of corporate social responsibility initiatives : toward a midrange theory
Author: Lee, Sunyoung
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2012
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The growing importance of non-market considerations has led multinational corporations to globalize not just production and commercialization but also their corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives as nonmarket strategies. Scholars have shown that CSR can create intangible assets that help companies reduce their foreignness and gain competitive advantages over local rivals. To what extent multinational enterprises (MNEs) can transfer CSR initiatives to other locations is an important question. Prior research, focusing on the transfer of operational initiative, is silent on the transfer of practices that extend beyond the boundaries of the firm to influence the welfare of external stakeholders. This study builds a theory about the conditions that influence success and failure in the transfer of CSR initiatives from headquarters to overseas subsidiaries. Through a case study of an Indian multinational, qualitative data is combined with the formal logic of fuzzy set analysis. The findings reveal that it is the combination of practice characteristics and local contexts that influence the success of practice transfer. Specifically, I explore two characteristics of CSR initiatives that facilitate practice transfer: stakeholder multiplicity and ambiguity. The former denotes the degree to which a CSR initiative can serve more than one stakeholder and the latter denotes the degree to which a CSR initiative can be applied to multiple contexts in different ways. The analysis suggests that stakeholder multiplicity is a predictor of transfer success to countries where coordination among diverse social actors is easy to achieve. In contrast, in high-context culture locations where rapid coordination is less easy to achieve, the ambiguity of CSR initiatives is a more important predictor of transfer success.
Supervisor: Barnett, Michael Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Business and Management ; multinational enterprises ; strategic management ; corporate social responsibility