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Corporate Social Responsibility in Challenging and Non-Enabling Contexts: Do institutional voids matter?

Amaeshi, Kenneth; Adegbite, Emmanuel; Rajwani, Tazeeb

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Kenneth Amaeshi

Professor in Accounting and Corporate Governance

Tazeeb Rajwani


The extant literature on comparative Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) often assumes functioning and enabling institutional arrangements, such as strong government, market, and civil society, as a necessary condition for responsible business practices. Setting aside this dominant assumption, and drawing insights from a case study of Fidelity Bank, Nigeria, we explore why and how firms still pursue and enact responsible business practices in what could be described as challenging and non-enabling institutional contexts for CSR. Our findings suggest that responsible business practices in such contexts are often anchored on some CSR adaptive mechanisms. These mechanisms uniquely complement themselves and inform CSR strategies. The CSR adaptive mechanisms and strategies, in combination and in complementarity, then act as an institutional buffer (i.e. 'institutional immunity'), which enables firms to successfully engage in responsible practices irrespective of their weak institutional settings. We leverage this understanding to contribute to CSR in developing economies, often characterised by challenging and non-enabling institutional contexts. The research, policy and practice implications are also discussed.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 6, 2014
Online Publication Date Oct 14, 2014
Publication Date Mar 10, 2016
Deposit Date Dec 5, 2018
Publicly Available Date Apr 8, 2019
Journal Journal of Business Ethics
Print ISSN 0167-4544
Electronic ISSN 1573-0697
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 134
Issue 1
Pages 135-153
Keywords Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR); adaptive mechanisms; institutional theory; developing countries; institutional voids; Nigeria
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Journal of Business Ethics. The final authenticated version is available online at:


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