Why Do Corporate Actors Engage in Pro-Social Behavior? A Bourdieusian Perspective on Corporate Social Responsibility

University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration, UZH Business Working Paper No. 319

49 Pages Posted: 11 Dec 2011 Last revised: 5 Nov 2012

See all articles by Dominik van Aaken

Dominik van Aaken

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich

Violetta Splitter

University of Zurich; University of Zurich

David Seidl

University of Zurich - Department of Business Administration (IBW)

Date Written: October 17, 2012

Abstract

Drawing on Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of social practice this paper develops a novel approach to the study of CSR. According to this approach, pro-social activities are conceptualized as social practices that are employed by individual managers in their personal struggles for social power. Whether such practices are enacted or not depends on the (1) particular features of the social field in which the managers are embedded, (2) the individual managers’ socially shaped dispositions and (3) their respective stock of different forms of capital. By combing these three concepts the Bourdieusian approach provides a particularly fruitful theoretical lens on CSR phenomena, not least as this allows reconciling seemingly competing conceptualizations in the existing CSR literature such as economic vs. non-economic motivation as drivers of CSR activity, micro- vs. macro-level explanations and voluntaristic vs. deterministic views of managers’ behaviors.

Keywords: corporate social responsibility, pro-social behavior, Bourdieu, power, economic calculus, instrumental approach, political approach, practice theory

JEL Classification: B13, M14

Suggested Citation

Aaken, Dominik van and Splitter, Violetta and Seidl, David, Why Do Corporate Actors Engage in Pro-Social Behavior? A Bourdieusian Perspective on Corporate Social Responsibility (October 17, 2012). University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration, UZH Business Working Paper No. 319. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1970618 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1970618

Dominik van Aaken (Contact Author)

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich ( email )

Geschwister-Scholl-Platz 1
Munich, Bavaria 80539
Germany

Violetta Splitter

University of Zurich ( email )

Rämistrasse 71
Zürich, CH-8006
Switzerland

University of Zurich ( email )

Rämistrasse 71
Zürich, CH-8006
Switzerland

David Seidl

University of Zurich - Department of Business Administration (IBW) ( email )

Hottingerstrasse 10
Plattenstrasse 14
Zurich, 8032
Switzerland

HOME PAGE: http://www.om.uzh.ch

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