Theory Assessment and Agenda Setting in Political CSR: A Critical Theory Perspective
International Journal of Management Reviews, DOI: 10.1111/ijmr.12137 (Forthcoming)
24 Pages Posted: 21 Mar 2017
Date Written: January 30, 2017
Frynas and Stephens (Political corporate social responsibility: reviewing theories and setting new agendas. International Journal of Management Reviews, 17, pp. 483–509, 2015) reviewed the literature on political corporate social responsibility (CSR). They described existing trends and suggested an agenda for future research. They attempted to develop ‘a more inclusive pluralist research agenda in political CSR, which can integrate different perspectives on political CSR in order to account for different phenomena, including global governance changes at macro level, instrumental concerns at organizational level or cognitive dimensions at individual level, in both descriptive and normative terms’. This was an ambitious endeavour, given the rapid growth of the literature and the extensive heterogeneity of the field. There is much to like in Frynas and Stephens’ paper, as it spans a broad range of perspectives and links together discrete research topics. In the present review, however, the author focuses on a number of critical aspects in their argument. Frynas and Stephens failed to define core concepts, to reveal their normative stance on CSR and their paradigmatic position, or to address the inherent conflict of values in political CSR. And they were too optimistic about the possibilities and benefits of ‘integration’. The author suspects that their approach, when adopted in practice, will impede rather than promote social welfare. This paper starts with a brief summary of the field and continues by emphasizing critical issues in Frynas and Stephens’ analysis. It concludes with an alternative agenda for research in political CSR.
Keywords: Corporate Political Activity, Corporate Social Responsibility, Critical Theory, CSR, Non Market Strategy, Political CSR,
JEL Classification: M10, M14, M16
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation