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Conformance and Deviance: Company Responses to Institutional Pressures for Corporate Social Responsibility Reporting


Correspondence to: Esben Rahbek Gjerdrum Pedersen, Copenhagen Business School - Center for Corporate Social Responsibility (cbsCSR), Porcelaenshaven 18, DK-2000 Frederiksberg, Denmark. E-mail:


This paper analyses how large Danish companies are responding to new governmental regulation which requires them to report on corporate social responsibility (CSR). The paper is based on an analysis of 142 company annual reports required by the new Danish regulation regarding CSR reporting, plus 10 interviews with first-time reporting companies and six interviews with companies that failed to comply with the new law. It is concluded that coercive pressures from government have an impact on CSR reporting practices. Further, the analysis finds traces of mimetic isomorphism which inspires a homogenisation in CSR reporting practices. Finally, it is argued that non-conformance with the new regulatory requirements is not solely about conscious resistance but may also be caused by, for example, lack of awareness, resource limitations, misinterpretations, and practical difficulties. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.