University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

Comparing the Transfer of CSR Principles by Western and Chinese Extractive Industry Firms to Promote African Development: A Co-evolutionary Approach

Kort, S.M. (2012) Comparing the Transfer of CSR Principles by Western and Chinese Extractive Industry Firms to Promote African Development: A Co-evolutionary Approach. PhD thesis, University of Worcester.

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In regarding corporate social responsibility (CSR), this thesis has moved beyond the stakeholder theory of the firm and adopted the evolutionary theory of the firm, together with recognising the link between corporate governance and CSR. This thesis has considered the historical development of the essential principles of corporate governance (embraced within the concept of CSR) of a Multinational Corporation (MNC), namely British Petroleum (BP), and assessed the transfer of these evolved principles for promoting development in Africa. To effectively apply evolutionary theory, one must also recognise that firms are part of a co-evolutionary process. Recent academic contributions by co-evolutionary theorists have paid attention to MNCs as change agents at the sector level. However, this thesis has taken this further and considered BP attempting to engage in institutional co-evolution where a MNC acts as a change agent to the wider institutional regime to promote development. Cantwell et al (2010) suggested that MNCs can have a significant influence upon the institutional regime, and presented a framework for firm-level adaptation by MNCs influencing the wider institutional environment in the host countries where they operate. They developed a co-evolutionary framework linking historical changes in the character of MNC activities to changes in the institutional environment, focusing upon the scope for firm-level creativity and institutional entrepreneurship leading to successful institutional co-evolution. Therefore, this thesis has followed on from this and investigated whether BP can be an agent for change in Africa, using the example of Angola to highlight the process.
A comparison was made with the new entrants into the market, China, to judge whether this influences BP’s ability to engage in institutional co-evolution. In addition, a comparative study of mining giant Anglo American was engaged in to highlight the appropriateness of BP’s CSR principles to the African setting. The thesis found that BP cannot successfully engage in institutional co-evolution because of an ineffective transparency initiative, whilst Chinese involvement has further diminished the ability to transfer sound corporate governance and CSR principles, particularly because Chinese resource-seeking investment comes with ‘no conditions attached’ concerning governance in host countries. In addition, the competitive nature of securing licences to operate forces oil MNCs to use their CSR packages strategically, and furthermore, the social consequences of environmental degradation due to oil sector operations means that local communities cannot sustain their livelihoods, which is a lesson that has not been learnt from historical evolution.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information:

A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the University’s requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy. A print version of this PhD thesis is held on Level 4 at the Hive.

Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: institutional co-evolution, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, strategic choice, path dependence.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: College of Business, Psychology and Sport > Worcester Business School
Depositing User: Janet Davidson
Date Deposited: 10 Sep 2013 10:03
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2020 16:59

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