Corporate Social Responsibility:A framework for analysing CSR heterogeneity through the case of Indonesian Palm Oil

  • Jimmy Tanaya

Student thesis: Phd


Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) represents a recent manifestation of the shifting of Role of Business in Society (RBiS). This thesis aims to study the development of and negotiation of various RBiS among various governance actors as manifested in CSR practices. In so doing, it reveals the heterogeneity of CSR practices over time as a contrast to the rigid and simplistic delineation of CSR practices; the institutionalisation of CSR into business strategy that so far has been perceived as a black box in the CSR literatures; and the co-constructed dynamic exchanges between perspectives of RBiS and their respective supporters, which I have called a relational perspective on governance and RBiS.This research employs a single case study research strategy with a qualitative multi-methods design as the synthesis of multiple instruments each pertain to particular level of analysis i.e. institutional, organisational, and individual. The research methodology is intentionally designed to operationalise a multilevel analysis of CSR and longitudinal insights on CSR. As such, the research methodology is offered as one of contributions in this research.The thesis finds that longitudinal insights matter, in order to understand various CSR practices as responses to external crises and situations, which at the same time, serve as an arena for negotiating interests between related parties in particular political-economic-social-environmental contexts. The thesis reveals processes of incorporating CSR into business strategy. Particularly, it demonstrates how businesses mobilise external resources and internal resources to meet shifting domains of responsibility through various investment inputs, to achieve a range of CSR outcomes. CSR practices, as situated within changing understandings of RBiS, reflect the negotiation between various interests, in relational perspective, linked to the perceived effectiveness of government as the guardian of wider public interests. The thesis argues that a simplistic view of CSR and RBiS as suggested by much of the available literature is partial and provides inadequate accounts and explanations of the burgeoning of CSR practices; in particular in appreciating the various competing interests and perspectives which are brought to bear during processes which continually shape and (re-) shape CSR practices; as well as the variety of mechanisms and practices through which CSR is incorporated into business strategy.I conclude the research by offering a proposition to examine and understand CSR. I propose to see CSR as a dynamic heterogeneous temporal and contextual tool incorporated by businesses through multi-avenues into corporate strategy as a result of negotiation of interests of various alliances of governance actors.
Date of Award1 Aug 2013
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorSally Randles (Supervisor) & Yanuar Nugroho (Supervisor)


  • CSR
  • business model
  • roles of business in society
  • palm oil
  • Indonesia

Cite this