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Corporate Social Responsibility: The Efficacy of Matched Between Not-For-Profits and Multinational Enterprises in Developed and Emerging Markets



Responding to Pope Francis’s appeals in Laudato si’ and to
societal pressures, multinational enterprises (MNEs; Dunning, 1977) are
increasingly searching for ways to structure demands for corporate social
responsibility (CSR). Previous literature, however, suggests that the positive
effects of CSR initiatives are not certain; moreover, alliance-based CSR
remains an understudied area. Therefore, we propose a model based on
a “matched” alliance approach to increase the efficacy of, and positive
response to, CSR initiatives. We argue that MNEs increase the legitimacy
and/or business-process efficiency of CSR initiatives by partnering with
not-for-profit (NFP; Schwenk, 1990) organizations in alliances that “match”
common objectives with complementary capabilities, which in turn results in
positive responses to CSR initiatives. We propose that CSR activities from
the following matched alliances will result in more positive media coverage:
between MNEs and NFPs, between a local MNE and local NFPs (vs. a
foreign MNE and local NFPs), and between local MNEs and NFPs in an
emerging (vs. developed) market. Our case and media-intensity analyses
for Walmart’s Katrina Assistance, Infosys’s Campus Connect, and Unilever’s
Project Shakti span matched alliances between local and foreign MNEs
in emerging and developed markets. Our findings document positive
media coverage surrounding CSR initiatives whenever MNEs partner with
matched local NFPs. In addition, positive media coverage is more for local
rather than foreign MNEs, and for CSR initiatives in emerging, rather than
developed, markets.


alliances; CSR; CSR and legitimacy; CSR and media coverage; CSR in emerging markets; Laudato Si’; matched alliances; MNE; multinational enterprise; NFP; NFP and MNE alliances; not-for-profit

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13185/JM2018.06106