POLITICAL CSR IN HYBRID REGIMES

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD

Abstract

Political CSR (PCSR) recognizes corporations as political actors that are embedded within the society. The PCSR literature mostly focuses in situations where the public authorities are unable or unwilling to fulfil their roles regarding certain public provisions. Rather than aligning with the current literature’s tendency on the dichotomy of developed state vs. fragile/failed state with weak governance – an approach emphasizing the strength of the state institutions via the notion of governance gaps – , this study attempts to reframe the PCSR concept with a particular focus on the political regime type of the context. Besides pointing literature’ lack of focus on the various PCSR modalities depending on the political regime type, this study calls for a more granular mapping between the PCSR behaviour and the political regime type of the context. The study focuses on hybrid political regimes via taking Turkey – a typical hybrid regime encompassing both democratic and autocratic features – as its background. Besides the study’s focus on this semi-democratic regime type that constitutes almost one third of the countries in the world, another focal point is the gender equality related PCSR activities of firms, as the gender (in)equality issue is treated as the flagship issue of democracy in the studied context (and possibly in several other similar contexts). The empirical findings of the study demonstrate that PCSR can be utilized as a contestation tool in such contexts to show the political stance of firms against illiberal policies of their governments. As a novel overall addition to the literature, the study claims PCSR to be a tool for political ideology manifestation for firms in such contexts. The study proposes a PCSR behaviour model covering macro-mezzo-micro levels, attempting to shed partial light on the interplay between the hybrid context and PCSR behavior of firms. The study first examines the contextual factors that serve as a foundational layer for a hybrid environment for firms. With the help of the empirical data, the PCSR modalities of firms that are likely to spring under such a hybrid regime are identified. Accordingly, PCSR behaviour of firms in the hybrid context are categorized into four main types depending on the overtness of the firms’ PCSR behaviour and their expressed intentionality of contestation. Additionally, the drivers that might lead seemingly similar firms to diverse PCSR modalities are also identified in three levels (individual, firm and systemic relational) and added to the overarching model as well. Overall, this study attempts to partially fill the existing gap in the PCSR literature regarding the significance of regime differentiation and its effects on the PCSR behaviour. The study particularly contributes to the wider discussion around PCSR and democratization.
Date of Award2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorStephen Pavelin (Supervisor) & Andrew Crane (Supervisor)

Keywords

  • Political CSR, PCSR, Hybrid regimes

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