Discursive construction of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy by management and employees

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The interest in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) discourse in organizations continues to rise. Within literature, the discursive construction of strategy as well as CSR discourse has been explored. Still, a more critical perspective is necessary as there is a lack of research that has combined these two literature streams. Moreover, there has been extensive research into the discourse in MNC HQ-subsidiary relationships and research about HQ-subsidiary CSR strategy alignment. However, research on the relationship between HQ and subsidiaries regarding the combination of discourse and CSR strategy is lacking. The objective of this study is to address the above-mentioned gaps, by looking at how organizational actors, specifically management and employees discursively construct CSR strategy in a specific context of HQ imposed CSR strategy. Through qualitative research methods, including interviews, document analysis and participatory observation, managers were seen to construct the HQ imposed CSR strategy through alignment discourse, discourse of centralized control and engagement discourse, whereas employees used discourse of detachment, discursive struggle and participation discourse. The findings advance theoretical understanding of discursive construction of an HQ imposed CSR strategy. They also have several practical implications for managers and employees as well as MNC HQs. This study also recommends several directions for future research into CSR strategy discourse.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen