The Role of Government and Regulation in Corporate Social Responsibility: The Case of China

Yan, Min

Drawing on the conceptual framework of implicit-explicit CSR, this paper distinguishes governmental/regulatory force and market/societal force as the two main determinants of CSR and argues governmental/regulatory force is the dominant drive for implicit mandatory CSR while market/societal force is the dominant drive for explicit voluntary CSR. By using China, the world’s second largest economy, as an example, this paper examines how do the governmental/regulatory force shape a country’s CSR system, as opposed to the market/societal force. Moreover, due to the rise of corporations’ explicit CSR activities and shrink of implicit mandatory CSR rules in the West, this paper also endeavors to find out whether implicit practice of business responsibility in China will transform into explicit CSR activities. After looking into the tradition, current momentum as well as the inadequacy of conventional business casereasoning in China, this paper concludes that despite the increasing role of market/societal force in advancing CSR, governments remain the dominant drive for CSR development in China, which in turn implies for example more governmental intervention and regulations defining minimum standards of corporate behavior. This paper also discusses different functions that governments can potentially take in further shaping and promoting CSR.

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Columbia Journal of Asian Law

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Published Here
August 17, 2022


CSR, governmental/regulatory force, market/societal force, mandatory CSR, implicit CSR, China