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Corporate social responsibility and comparative capitalism frameworks: Evidence from the United States, Poland, and Italy

Giacomo Boesso, Barbara Fryzel and Marco Ghitti

Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, 2023, vol. 30, issue 2, 531-547

Abstract: Using the varieties of capitalism perspective and institutional theory as frameworks, we analyze cross‐cultural differences between firms' corporate social responsibility (CSR) approaches. We investigate three countries with different institutional settings: the United States, representing a liberal market economy; Italy, representing a coordinated market economy; and Poland, an example of a dependent market economy. We examine the differences in their CSR stances, operationalized through Porter and Kramer's concept of the four CSR categories: good citizenship, mitigating harm from the value chain, transforming value chain activities, and strategic philanthropy, based on data from 269 questionnaires administered to managers attending executive seminars at the authors' universities. Focusing on stakeholder engagement activities (SEAs) across the three economies, we show that companies in all three countries engage in the four categories of CSR activities. However, using a series of tests and rankings on means and standard deviations, followed by the subsequent analysis of variance, we argue that SEAs are emphasized more in American than in Polish and Italian companies, with the latter two countries showing more subtle differences despite some institutional similarities. Our results shed light on how different capitalistic models are associated with different CSR approaches, allowing policy‐makers and practitioners to better tackle CSR objectives in different countries.

Date: 2023
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