The emergence of corporate social responsibility in Chile: The importance of authenticity and social networks

Terry Beckman, Alison Colwell, Peggy H. Cunningham

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

    130 Citations (Scopus)


    Little is known about how and why corporate social responsibility (CSR) emerged in lesser developed countries. In order to address this knowledge gap, we used Chile as a test case and conducted a series of in-depth interviews with leaders of CSR initiatives. We also did an Internet and literature search to help provide support for the findings that emerged from our data. We discovered that while there are similarities in the drivers of CSR in developed countries, there are distinct differences as well. In particular, we found that different sectors drive CSR in Chile. In contrast to other geographies where consumer demand and government regulation provided the impetus for CSR efforts, multinational companies (MNCs) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are key actors in Chile. MNCs imported their CSR beliefs, skills, and processes into Chile. Their efforts resulted in a virtuous cycle. Once large domestic firms felt pressured by their MNC rivals, they too adopted CSR initiatives. The ability to manage relationships with multiple stakeholders and perceptions of authenticity were also critical to the success of CSR in Chile. Using network theory as a lens, we suggest that network density and centrality largely determine whether CSR efforts will be authentic. Based on these contentions, we suggest avenues for future research.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)191-206
    Number of pages16
    JournalJournal of Business Ethics
    Issue numberSUPPL.2
    Publication statusPublished - Dec. 2009


    • Authenticity
    • Chile
    • Corporate social responsibility
    • Developing countries
    • Latin America
    • Network theory
    • Social networks


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