CSR in China for China: A qualitative study of how National Business System influences Corporate Social Responsibility in China and its implications for Swedish firms

Frida Mahananda Karlsson

Student thesis: Master thesis


The present study has examined how national business systems influence the environment for CSR in China. This study has conducted qualitative interviews with Swedish firms and consultancy agencies in China to shed light to the challenges that these actors face when implementing CSR in a local context. The business system approach has been useful to analyze how the political and cultural system in China may influence the environment for CSR. However due to China’s transitional character additional theories that pay attention to the possibility of multiple business system within China, informal rules and cultural hybrids has been used to better understand the environment for CSR in China today and future prospects. The findings indicate how the Chinese central government actively promotes CSR but that the ambition and incentives to implement national level guidelines are silently discouraged at regional and local level of the political system. This suggests how CSR may converge to international standards on a national level while regional and local levels continue to diverge. Furthermore study of the cultural system indicates how the internal structure and inter-firm relations of Chinese Family Business may silently discourage an environment for CSR. Despite this the findings also suggest how local actors engage in networks with foreign counterparts where CSR practices are shared and absorbed which indicate a more long-term process of transformation of enduring business systems.

EducationsMSc in International Business and Politics, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2013
Number of pages87