From taken-for-granted to explicit commitment: The rise of CSR in a corporatist country

Höllerer, Markus (2013) From taken-for-granted to explicit commitment: The rise of CSR in a corporatist country. Journal of Management Studies, 50 (4). pp. 573-606. ISSN 1467-6486


Download (1MB)


This article contributes to a thriving line of research that examines issue interpretation and social accounts in order to study the adoption and diffusion of organizational concepts and management practices. It employs the empirical example of the rise of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in Austria between 1990 and 2005 to investigate the complex role institutional pressures and social positions of actors play in the local adoption of globally theorized ideas. More specifically, the study reveals distinct patterns in rhetorical CSR adoption that illustrate the initial hesitation and reluctance of an established elite in the Austrian business community towards the Anglo-American notion of 'explicit' CSR, while non-elite actors who were less favourably positioned in the social order readily embraced the concept. It is in such a sense that CSR is nevertheless instrumentalized to challenge, reinterpret, or explicitly evoke the autochthonous idea of institutionalized social solidarity. Conceptually, this research takes into account social structure, actors' positions in the social order, and resulting divergent adoption motivations - i.e. the individual, yet socially derived, relevance systems of actors - and relates them to mechanisms and processes of institutional change. (author's abstract)

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: I wish to thank several colleagues who commented on previous versions of this article, among them (in alphabetic order): Dan Caprar, Maria Grafström, Royston Greenwood, Dennis Jancsary, Stephan Leixnering, Mike Lounsbury, Renate Meyer, Willie Ocasio, and Trish Reay. I also thank the associate editor of JMS, André Spicer, and three anonymous reviewers for their thoughtful guidance during the revision process. Omissions and errors are, of course, entirely my own. The author gratefully acknowledges assistance from the Vienna Stock Exchange, the Austrian National Library, and the Austria Press Agency, as well as financial support from the Austrian Science Fund (FWF): I 635-G17.
Keywords: Corporate social responsibility (CSR) / management concept / diffusion / institutional change / social position / elite / corporatism / Austria
Divisions: Departments > Management > Organization Studies
Departments > Management > Public Management und Governance
Version of the Document: Accepted for Publication
Variance from Published Version: Minor
Depositing User: Gertraud Novotny
Date Deposited: 19 Apr 2016 11:50
Last Modified: 26 Jul 2020 02:34
Related URLs:


View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics