Research Snapshots

Government monitoring encourages CSR in China

Dr Cuili Qian, Associate Professor in the Department of Management has, along with Dr Christopher Marquis of the Harvard Business School, published a study in Organization Science which focuses on how and why firms in China strategically respond to government signals regarding appropriate corporate activity. The study integrates institutional theory with research on corporate political strategy to develop a political dependence model that explains how different types of dependency on the government lead firms to issue Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) reports. It also looks at how the risk of governmental monitoring affects the extent to which CSR reports are symbolic or substantive. The study finds that (a) government signalling is an important mechanism of political influence, (b) different types of dependency on the government expose firms to different types of legitimacy pressure, and (c) firms face a decoupling risk which leads them to be more likely to enact substantive CSR actions in situations in which they are likely to be monitored.

Read more:
Marquis, Christopher, and Cuili Qian. "Corporate Social Responsibility Reporting in China: Symbol or Substance?" Organization Science 25.1 (2014): 127-148. Print.