Chapter 6: CSR Dynamics in South Korea and Japan: A Comparative Analysis
Seungho Choi and Ruth V. Aguilera THE CONCEPT OF CSR Over the past few decades, corporate social responsibility (CSR) – actions taken by the firm intended to further social goods beyond the direct interests of the firm and that which is required by law (McWilliams and Siegel, 2001) – has gained increasingly enthusiastic attention from business and academic researchers. However, the very extensive literature addressing the theory and practice of CSR is still very much grounded in the European and US contexts (Birch and Moon, 2004). Nonetheless, given the globalization of business, there is a pressing need to acquire insight into the nature of CSR in different countries. In recognition of this lacuna, we examine the activities of CSR in two Asian countries: South Korea (from here on, ‘Korea’) and Japan. These two countries are both East Asian democracies and have been closely linked to each other, given their geographical and cultural proximity as well as for historical reasons. Yet, despite their similarity, we show that these two Asian countries have adopted different approaches to CSR. Until recently, CSR practices and performance from most Asian countries have not been introduced to the Western world, with the exception of a few Japanese CSR studies (for example, Wokutch, 1990; Lewin et al., 1995; Wokutch and Shepard, 1999; Fukukawa and Moon 2004). Especially intriguing is the fact that there is no research in the Western academic world focusing exclusively and in depth on Korean CSR issues, although there are a few comparative CSR studies that...
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