Corporate social responsibility and developing countries

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Abstract

This paper draws attention to several corporate social responsibility (CSR) questions in developing countries. (1) Illustrations from, for example, South America and Africa, including African voices critical to foreign aid, show that societies are different in many respects. This implies different capacities of organizations and their managers to understand and address pressing CSR issues in different cultural contexts. (2) Weak institutional environments, such as in developing countries, often harbor illicit financial outflow from poor countries to rich ones. This strips developing nations of critical resources and contributes to failed states, a point hardly ever discussed in the CSR literature. We argue for corporate actions in areas such as enhancing capacity in detecting tax fraud, antitrust and the unveiling of corruption cases. Obviously, legislation is a task of politicians, governments and international governmental bodies. However, if business enterprises can ‘legally misuse’ the system, then the matter should be seen as a CSR issue also. There is thus an urgency for concerted efforts by the private sector, public sector and non-governmental organizations to develop structures and institutions that contribute to social justice, environmental protection and poverty eradication. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.

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