Discussion Paper Series 2019 #06: The politics of CSR in Japan
What role for CSR in the change of the Japanese Corporate Governance System?
The corporate governance (CG) system in Japan has long been relatively coordinated with long-term relationships between firms, owners and employees (Aguilera, Filatotchev, Gospel, & Jackson, 2008; Hall & Soskice, 2001; Yoshikawa, Tsui-Auch, & McGuire, 2007). However, the prevalence of non-market forms of interaction started to change in the late 1990s (Ahmadjian & Robbins, 2005; Jackson & Moerke, 2005), mostly due to a banking crisis and a discussion about the “modernity” of the Japanese economic system. Almost at the same time, around 2001, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) started to be diffused in Japan and steadily developed as legitimate activity of large firms (Mun & Jung, 2018; Suzuki, Tanimoto, & Kokko, 2010).
Recent studies have investigated the rise of CSR, explain the rise from different theoretical angles. For instance, the rise of CSR is portrayed as a result of a global shift towards economic liberalism, privatization and deregulation and thus was a way to legitimate these shifts ex ante and ex post (Kinderman, 2012). Within corporatist countries, CSR has been described as a tool that was instrumentally used to challenge, reinterpret, or evoke institutionalized social solidarity (Höllerer, 2013). In contrast, Lim and Tsutsui (2012) highlight the role of global institutional pressure through nongovernmental organizations, activists, governments and international organizations that encourage CSR adoption and thereby highlight the role of the world society approach and isomorphic pressures.
- Julia Bartosch (Freie Universität Berlin)