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Evolving corporate social responsibility in China

Zhang, D., Morse, S., Kambhampati, U. ORCID: and Li, B. (2014) Evolving corporate social responsibility in China. Sustainability, 6 (11). pp. 7646-7665. ISSN 2071-1050

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To link to this item DOI: 10.3390/su6117646


With a unique cultural background and fast economic development, China’s adoption of corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become the center of discussion worldwide, and its successful implementation will have great significance for global sustainability. This paper aims to explore how CSR has given way to economic growth in China since the start of economic transition and its cultural, historical and political background, and how this has affected or been affected by the economic performance of firms. Thus, the recent calls for China to adopt CSR in its industries follow a period where the country arguably had one of the strongest implementations of CSR approaches in the world. This transition is considered in the context of a case study of a Chinese state-owned enterprise (SOE) and a group of small private firms in the same industrial sector in Zhengzhou City, Henan Province over a time span of eight years. While the CSR of the SOE has been steadily decreasing along with the change of ownership structure, its economic performance did not improve as expected. On the other hand, with a steady improvement in economic performance, the small private firms are showing a great reluctance to engage in CSR. The results indicate that implementation of CSR in China needs both the manager’s ethical awareness and the change of institutional framework. The results also raise the question as to whether CSR is a universal concept with a desired means of implementation across the developed and developing world.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Politics, Economics and International Relations > Economics
ID Code:38671


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