Understanding Japanese CSR: The Reflections of Managers in the Field of Global Operations [Book Review]

Journal of Business Ethics 85 (1):133 - 146 (2009)
This paper examines how Japanese multinational companies manage corporate social responsibility (CSR). It considers how the concept has come to be framed within Japanese business, which is increasingly globalized and internationally focused, yet continues to exhibit strong cultural specificities. The discussion is based on interviews with managers who deal with CSR issues and strategy on a day-to-day basis from 13 multinational companies. In looking at how CSR practice has been adopted and adapted by Japanese corporations, we can begin to see what implications arise from the fact that CSR is a Western-led concept, so opening up critical questions about the future development and evolution of CSR practice within a global context. In being exposed to the concept of CSR as practiced vigilantly in western countries, Japanese multinational company managers have certainly come to re-evaluate aspects of business likely to need rectifying (with potential concerns being gender inequalities, discrepancies in employee conditions, and issues over human rights and supply chains). Japan can be thought to be lagging behind in its understanding and adoption of CSR, in part because corporations do not necessarily state their policies as formally as might be expected. Yet, by analyzing more deeply the kinds of responses gained from CSR managers in Japan (and by placing their remarks within a broader context of Japanese culture and business practices) a far more subtle and revealing picture becomes apparent, not least a more complex picture of the local/global interaction of the frames of reference of corporate responsibility
Keywords corporate social responsibility  Japanese multinational companies  sustainability  globalization  CSR managers
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DOI 10.2307/40294827
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