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How NGOs Advance Corporate Social Responsibility in China

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On the basis of four NGO case studies, this article considers how NGOs promote corporate social responsibility (CSR) from the angle of resource mobilization. NGOs’ approaches to promoting CSR can be divided into three types: cooperative, independent, and oppositional. Within the cooperative approach, there are two types of relationships between NGOs and enterprises. In the first, “integrated” social enterprise approach, NGO and enterprises are highly codependent. In the second, the NGO cooperates as an entity external to the enterprise. The independent approach has the NGO acting as a third-party examiner, and, based on its cooperation with a famous international organization, performing CSR evaluation and training for Mainland processing enterprises. The oppositional approach consists of NGOs using social movements to cast light on whether or not enterprises are fulfilling their social responsibilities. NGOs’ different levels of resources determine the power dynamics between them and enterprises. Those different power dynamics, in turn, determine the methods and strategies NGOs will use to try to compel enterprises to take on social responsibility and determine the kinds of relationships that form. These different approaches also reflect that NGOs lack institutional protections for their efforts to stimulate CSR. Currently, their efforts to advance CSR have not yet been able to develop into institutionally diverse models.

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