Political Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Development, and Business Legitimacy

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The chapter focuses on the “political turn” in the CSR literature that has emerged in recent decades and focuses particularly on the debate about Political Corporate Social Responsibility (PCSR) in relation to developing countries. The main features of the PCSR literature are presented with an emphasis on the claim about the changing nature of businesses as political actors driven by a shift from instrumental motives towards moral legitimacy in the era of globalization. The chapter highlights some of the key critiques of the PCSR debate in regards to their claims about the changing nature of the businesses and assumptions about the role of business in promoting democratic global governance. It is argued that the PCSR claims and assumptions are empirically weak and theoretically flawed due to the biased normative ideals and conceptualizations of legitimacy and the political role/responsibilities of businesses. A call for contextualized studies grounded in empirical realities of the variances across “developing countries” is presented in the chapter for future studies.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Business Legitimacy : Responsibility, Ethics and Society
EditorsJacob Dahl-Rendtorff
Number of pages15
Place of PublicationCham
Publication date2020
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-14621-4
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-14622-1
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Political Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Developing countries
  • Corporate citizenship
  • Legitimacy

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