Despite the prevalence of global diffusion, little is known about the processes by which international practices are adopted and adapted within organizations around the world. Through our qualitative research on the introduction of corporate social responsibility (CSR) reporting at two leading Chinese companies, we identify a unique set of political mechanisms that we label state-mediated globalization, whereby powerful nation-state actors influence the ways in which corporations adopt and adapt global norms and practices. We find that businesses’ needs for political legitimacy from a key stakeholder, in this case the government, leads them to deviate systematically from the global practice in both form and content. These intentional practice adaptations are then legitimized by the government to create internationalization tools and localized standards to aid adoption by other organizations. Our findings illustrate previously unidentified mechanisms by which powerful stakeholders such as the Chinese government may mediate, and thereby direct, the ways in which corporations adopt and adapt global CSR practices. Contributions to understanding the political processes of institutional translation in the context of globalization are discussed.