Wharton Research Scholars

Document Type

Thesis or dissertation

Date of this Version

May 2008

Comments

This paper is posted at ScholarlyCommons@Penn.

Abstract

"Harmonious Society" was proposed by Chinese President Hu Jintao as early as 2005 as the Chinese approach towards development. This generated significant excitement among observers of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) who see CSR and Harmonious Society as sharing common objectives. This paper seeks to explore whether Harmonious Society will result in an increase in CSR engagement by Chinese firms. It does so by drawing up a list of actions that if taken by the government would increase the level of CSR in China and make Harmonious Society a relevant factor in the development of Chinese CSR. To do so, my paper develops a framework for studying the elements that affect the level of CSR by dividing causes of CSR into a societal “demand” side and a discretionary "supply" side. Understanding what drives the development of CSR allows us to understand what measures governments can take to influence the level of CSR through these elements. Using this framework, my paper also finds that CSR in China in the near future will be largely concentrated in SOE and is unlikely to be widespread in the growing private-sector of China.

Keywords

China, Harmonious Society, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

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Date Posted: 08 October 2008

This document has been peer reviewed.