The Impact of Chinese Culture on Corporate Social Responsibility: The Harmony Approach [Book Review]

Journal of Business Ethics 88 (3):433 - 451 (2009)
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Abstract

Although the history of adopting the Western Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) concept in China spans less than 20 years, the core principles of CSR are not new and can be legitimately interpreted within traditional Chinese culture. We find that the Western CSR concepts do not adapt well to the Chinese market, because they have rarely defined the primary reason for CSR well, and the etic approach to CSR concepts does not take the Chinese reality and culture into consideration. This article resolves these problems and contributes a new definition of CSR, called here – the Harmony Approach to CSR. Simply, the Chinese harmony approach to CSR means 'respecting nature and loving people'. It is the first time CSR has been defined in relation to Confucian interpersonal harmony and Taoist harmony between man and nature. Conceptually, this definition will broaden our understanding and will fit the characteristics of the Chinese market better. The idea of incorporating cultural contexts into CSR concepts could also contribute to future CSR studies. In business practice, it will help corporations to adopt CSR on their own initiative. The proposed virtues of traditional Chinese wisdom, in particular, will guide corporations to a new way of improving their CSR performance

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