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Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 153, Issue 4, pp 997–1016 | Cite as

The Evolution of Business Groups’ Corporate Social Responsibility

  • Alvaro Cuervo-Cazurra
Original Paper
  • 390 Downloads

Abstract

In this theoretical paper, I analyze business groups’ corporate social responsibility (CSR). Building on economic thinking, I propose that the level and diversity of CSR investments of business groups evolve with the development of the country, as a result of the interaction of two drivers: the level of infrastructure deficiencies and the cost of negative externalities. I argue that in underdeveloped countries, business groups have high levels and low diversity of CSR investments, focusing on the social arena to compensate for infrastructure deficiencies. As countries implement pro-market reforms and become emerging economies, the level of CSR investments diminishes as business groups can rely on external providers and the government for supporting infrastructure, but CSR diversity increases to address the growing costs of negative externalities in the environmental and economic arenas. As countries further develop to become advanced economies, business groups’ level and diversity of CSR investments increase to prevent the high costs of negative externalities in the social, environmental, and economic arenas proactively.

Keywords

Corporate social responsibility Business groups Externalities Infrastructure Evolution Emerging markets 

Notes

Acknowledgements

I thank the special issue editors, Melsa Ararat, Alsi Colpan, and Dirk Matten, two anonymous reviewers, and the audience at the Academy of Management annual meeting for providing useful suggestions for improvement on previous versions of the paper. I also thank the Robert Mullin Fellowship for providing financial support.

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.D’Amore-McKim School of BusinessNortheastern UniversityBostonUSA

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