Political Corporate Social Responsibility: Reviewing Theories and Setting New Agendas

Frynas, Jędrzej George and Stephens, Siân (2015). Political Corporate Social Responsibility: Reviewing Theories and Setting New Agendas. International Journal of Management Reviews, 17(4) pp. 483–509.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/ijmr.12049


There has been rising interest in political corporate social responsibility (political CSR), defined as activities where CSR has an intended or unintended political impact, or where intended or unintended political impacts on CSR exist. Based on a survey and content analysis of 146 peer-reviewed academic articles from 18 journals over the 14-year period 2000–2013, this paper systematically reviews the existing applications of general theories (such as legitimacy theory, the resource-based view and Habermasian political theory) within the political CSR literature.The survey indicates that the political CSR field is dominated by institutional theory and stakeholder theory, but future theory development needs to go beyond these theories in order to address a number of critical gaps. This review specifically points to several avenues for future political CSR research with regard to the individual level of analysis, domain integration and political CSR in multinational enterprises. The paper ends with a call for a new theory-informed and pluralist research agenda on political CSR to integrate different perspectives and re-examine the role of the state.

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