Implementing corporate social responsibility as institutional work: Exploring the day-to-day activities of CSR managers in multinational corporations

Christopher Wickert, David Risi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

We investigate the role of CSR managers in the process of institutionalizing CSR at the organizational level. From an institutional theory perspective, CSR managers can be regarded as pursuing institutional work that aims to establish CSR as a taken-for-granted way of doing business within and beyond a single organization. We investigate inductively what the day-to-day practices of CSR-related institutional work are that these CSR managers are carrying out. Our qualitative inquiry suggests a pattern of five distinct but interrelated strategies applied within organizational contexts. The data further indicate that the CSR-institutionalization project and corresponding institutional work of CSR managers cannot only be achieved by crafting formalized bureaucratic structures, but must be complemented by informal strategies of convincing, “subtly nudging” others, and forming “silent” alliances with like-minded supporters. While our study provides evidence of what institutional work in the context of CSR actually entails, it also contributes to a better understanding of the nascent micro-perspective on CSR.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCorporate Social Responsibility and Corporate Change
Subtitle of host publicationInstitutional and Organizational Perspectives
EditorsArnaud Sales
PublisherSpringer
Pages243-258
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9783030154073
ISBN (Print)9783030154059
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Publication series

NameEthical Economy
Volume57
ISSN (Print)2211-2707
ISSN (Electronic)2211-2723

Keywords

  • Corporate social responsibility (CSR)
  • CSR managers
  • Institutional theory
  • Institutional work
  • Multinational corporations (MNCs)

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