Proceedings of the International Association for Business and Society

Volume 28, 2017

Proceedings of the Twenty-Eighth Annual Meeting

Viviana Pilato, Jean-Pasca Gond, Matteo Pedrini
Pages 224-238

The Deployment of Corporate Social Responsibility in Multinational Corporations’ Subsidiaries: Evidence from Africa

This study examines how multinational corporations’ (MNCs) subsidiaries manage institutional complexity when deploying their corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities in Africa. Building on insights from international business studies of CSR and recent development in comparative institutionalism, we explore how distinct institutional forces combine to shape subsidiary’s CSR behaviour across five African countries. Relying on 33 interviews with managers at 26 subsidiaries operating in Angola, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya and South Africa, we identified patterns of variations in CSR deployment across these countries. Our findings reveal that MNCs’ subsidiaries mobilize the CSR strategy of their parent firm to demonstrate their compliance with their headquarters’ expectations, but also complement this minimum level of requirement with elements that reflect the needs from the local business system. As a whole, our findings reveal the complex bricolage undertaken by subsidiary’s managers to tailor their CSR strategy in ways that meet the contradictory institutional forces they face.