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The Political Perspective of Corporate Social Responsibility: A Critical Research Agenda

  • Glen Whelan (a1)

I here advance a critical research agenda for the political perspective of corporate social responsibility (Political CSR). I argue that whilst the ‘Political’ CSR literature is notable for both its conceptual novelty and practical importance, its development has been hamstrung by four ambiguities, conflations and/or oversights. More positively, I argue that ‘Political’ CSR should be conceived as one potential form of globalization, and not as a consequence of ‘globalization’; that contemporary Western MNCs should be presumed to engage in CSR for instrumental reasons; that ‘Political’ CSR should be associated with a corresponding ‘political’ model of corporate governance; and that both a ‘Rawlsian’ and ‘Habermasian’ perspective of Political CSR are different from ‘Political’ CSR. In concluding, I use these four critiques to identify a number of areas within which increasingly robust and sophisticated positive and normative theories of Political CSR are required.

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