Unearthing Sedimentation Dynamics in Political CSR: The Case of Colombia

Journal of Business Ethics 155 (2):425-444 (2019)
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Abstract

The stream on political corporate social responsibility argues that companies have recently assumed state-like roles to influence global governance. However, following emerging calls for greater contextualization of CSR, we trace the historic evolution of PCSR in the case of Colombia and argue that such political engagement by firms is not new. Looking beyond a linear chronological account, we reveal the sedimentation process behind PCSR by exploring the archetypical political roles businesses have taken on in providing public goods and acting as regulators, and chart their transformation. Our findings allow us to make two main contributions. First, by unearthing different strata of business and society relations, we enrich the research on PCSR, highlighting its historical sedimentation dynamics. By integrating institutional and historical perspectives, we respond to calls for complementary accounts of one of the premises found in the literature that considers globalization as the starting point of PCSR. Second, our exploration of the past and present of PCSR in Colombia provides scholars and practitioners with an overview of the complex state and stakes of CSR in that country. We also discuss the implications of sedimentation for PCSR theory and future research directions.

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