Corporate social responsibility as an organizational innovation: a comparative analysis of its implementation in the institutional frameworks of Sweden and the United Kingdom

University essay from Lunds universitet/Ekonomisk-historiska institutionen

Abstract: Corporate social responsibility is a management concept originating from the Anglo-Saxon background and associated with the tradition of arm’s length relations between business and institutions in society. However, different institutional systems handle organizational innovations in dissimilar ways, and in the age of globalization, national institutions often interact with global ones. This study discusses how these mechanisms might affect CSR’s implementation in contrasting institutional frameworks – that is, Sweden and the UK, and finds that while explicit CSR seems to have converged, likely due to global pressures for equivalence, on a more fundamental level, domestic institutions remain major actors in influencing what version of CSR will develop. Even though the use of the concept, practices and motivation may appear similar, important differences emerge. CSR in Sweden seems to have a normative justification and an international focus due to the Swedish tradition of corporatist integration whereas in the UK, CSR is justified instrumentally, with a national focus, and is viewed as a complement to or substitute to state action.

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