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The state and corporate social responsibility: Theorising the relationship

Typically, the relationship between corporate social responsibility (CSR) and state action is considered to be one of complementing or substitution. However, growing numbers of governments consider CSR as a potential policy tool and attempt to actively shape organisational CSR policies and outcomes. Yet, different types of states exhibit different levels of interventionism and different preferences regarding the means and ends of state intervention in the economy. This suggests that CSR policies and outcomes vary across different types of states. The extant literature has only given scant attention to this issue and has not systematically considered the relationship between types of states and CSR policies and outcomes. In this chapter we seek to remedy this shortcoming. We systematically explore the relationship between varieties of states and corporate social responsibility, by constructing a typology of corporate responsibilities indifferent types of states. We combine existing typologies of states and of government-CSR configurations, to answer the question how different types of state lead to different firm-level CSR practices and overall outcomes. We find that a regulatory state seeks a minimum role in facilitating CSR, largely leaving CSR to the market for self-regulation. A welfare state takes an active role shaping CSR practice through direct affiliations in cross sector collaboration and mandatory CSR policy. A developmental state also has a direct involvement in CSR practice through frequent partnerships involving social projects or CSR facilitated through subsidies as well as CSR as a form of government. Lastly, we theories that predatory states have little interest in CSR, and when they do it is mostly in an opportunistic fashion with limited social and environmental outcomes.



  • Loughborough University London

Published in

The Oxford Handbook on State Capitalism and the Firm


Oxford University Press


AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

The state and corporate social responsibility: Theorising the relationship by Alan Brejnholt, Jukka Rintamaki, Gerhard Schnyder, and Luda Svystunova , [year of publication], reproduced by permission of Oxford University Press [link to OUP entry].




Dr Gerhard Schnyder. Deposit date: 30 December 2019

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