The Managers’ Approach to Legalization of CSR: A Cross-cultural Study
Purpose: In recent years, there has been a shift in the CSR approach, from voluntary action to regulations and legal acts imposing specific obligations on enterprises in terms of their responsibility toward communities and environment in which they operate. Researchers are still divided, but there are rising voices that the adoption of CSR principles is no longer a matter of voluntary practice. The aim of this article is to answer two research questions: 1) what is the managers’ attitude to the legalization of CSR, and 2) are there any differences in this issue across cultures. The study shows the cross-cultural perspective from the EMEA region. Design/Methodology/Approach: A qualitative approach and individual interviews have been chosen to gather reliable and in-depth information. Semi-structured, online interviews with six managers from EMEA region (three Polish citizens and three Tunisian citizens operating in the United Arab Emirates) were selected as the primary technique for data collection. Recorded and transcribed interviews were then analyzed using MAXQDA. Findings: In Poland, where CSR is more institutionalized, managers are skeptical about the obligatory nature of this concept. In the UAE on the other hand, where CSR regulations are still lacking, imposing new obligations on enterprises is seen as a positive and even necessary phenomenon. Practical Implications: Managers' approach to CSR can be universal across the globe, but there is a significant difference how this concept is understood across cultures. Results of this study show a significant difference between managers’ approach to legalization of CSR in Poland and the UAE and can contribute to a better alignment of national and international CSR regulations. Originality/Value: The ambiguity of the results presented in the literature indicates the need for further research on the leaders’ concern for responsibility, sustainability and its legalization. Furthermore, the literature lacks cross-cultural studies on managers’ attitudes toward voluntary vs. mandatory CSR.