CSR implementation in a developing country through community participation
This empirical paper aims to fill the void in the debate on micro-perspective and actual process of CSR implementation in a developing country through analysing the missing angle of the community perspective. Using stakeholder theory and scholarship on participatory rural appraisal (PRA) we investigate how firms implement CSR in a developing country at community level. The study uses multiple case design and an inductive approach and draws on content analysis of 28 responses from semi structured interviews of practising managers in CSR domains of four large agribusiness firms in India. The results reveal that the process of CSR implementation begins by engagement (achieved through effective communication) with the community that encourages the latter to participate in the implementation of CSR projects. Participation ensures that the community starts owning the project. This ownership is critical for making the project sustainable. Finally, a feedback mechanism ensures that CSR project is on the right track. We argue that in a developing country a top to bottom approach to CSR implementation may not always be the best strategy to follow; instead firms should encourage community participation in a structured way for CSR implementation in order to gain long-term sustainable competitive advantage.
Keywords: India, CSR, stakeholder theory