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Harmonization in CSR Reporting

MNEs and Global CSR Standards
  • Fabienne Fortanier
  • Ans Kolk
  • Jonatan Pinkse
Research Article

Abstract

  • This paper focuses on MNEs’ corporate social responsibility (CSR) reporting, which previous studies have found to exhibit strong country-of-origin effects. It examines whether MNEs’ adherence to global standards (as adopted by e.g. ILO, OECD, UN, ISO) is associated with smaller cross-country differences and less country-of-origin effects in CSR reporting, and whether stringency of standards’ enforcement mechanisms affects reporting harmonization.

  • To test our hypotheses, we collected data on 25 CSR items for a sample of firms consisting of the top 250 firms listed in the Fortune Global list, using ordered logistic regression analysis.

  • We find evidence for upward harmonization in reporting for those MNEs that adhere to global CSR standards. Stricter enforcement mechanisms did not result in stronger harmonization.

  • Our findings imply that global standards and guidelines do not only increase the overall level of CSR reporting, but are also associated with a harmonization of CSR activities of firms from different countries, thus reducing the role that domestic institutions (including legislation and societal concerns) play in shaping CSR practices. Implications for research and practice are discussed.

Keywords

Corporate social responsibility Country-of-origin effects Global standards Harmonization Institutional context CSR reporting 

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Copyright information

© Gabler Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Amsterdam Business SchoolAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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