Corporate Social Responsibility Reshaping International Casting? A Minor Field Study on CSR in a Chinese Context and the Role of Multinational Corporations.

University essay from Lunds universitet/Statsvetenskapliga institutionen

Abstract: The purpose of this thesis is to study how Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) may change the role of corporations in an international political context. As a case study on this theme, part of the thesis is focused on how CSR may influence areas concerning human rights in China. The study is undertaken from a discourse theoretical approach and is hence stressing the dialectical constituting relationship of language and the social world. Since CSR is defined through different discourses, and initially through discourses stressing economic values and human rights, the thesis seeks to understand the balance of these discourses in different contexts. This discursive interaction is also important to understand when one looks at the role of multinational corporations with CSR-policies. The analysis is divided on the production phase where the CSR concept is developed and on the Chinese consumption phase where the CSR concept is integrated in a new a context. The conclusions are that CSR mainly are defined as a business case through a business discourse, which merely reproduces existing conditions and roles. However, there are a few signs that the adoption of CSR widens how some corporations identify themselves and in these cases they do thread on the political area. In the Chinese case one may also draw the conclusion that a nationalistic discourse is important in the definition of CSR. When CSR is defined as foreign it is rejected, but when CSR is defined as Chinese the approach is much more affirmative and it also makes it possible to include values outside the business discourse that shows similarities to values of the human rights discourse. Key words: CSR, discourse, multinational corporations, China, human rights

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