Juliana De Souza Bittar-Godinho
Doctorate – CSR and Brazilian Corporate Foundations: Political Legitimization Strategies by the Firms
Advisor: Prof. Dr. Gilmar Masiero
Comission: Profs. Drs. Isabel Maria Estima Costa Lourenço, Cintia Rodrigues de Oliveira Medeiros e Mario Aquino Alves
Class: 215, FEA-5
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is the result of institutional and political forces that influence the adoption of certain practices by companies in their search for legitimacy. Such practices include collaboration with the state by existing policies, as well as company's efforts to create new policies. Companies also collaborate with the state in its administrative and physical capacity to solve social problems. Philanthropy or participation in government programs or the development of innovative solutions by the company can be a mean to do that. (Zhao, 2012). The objective of this research is to analyze how Brazilian companies use CSR in their political legitimacy strategies and what is the role played by corporate foundations (CF's) in this process. A qualitative content analysis on firm-State interactions was carried out with 104 sustainability reports, from the period between 2015-2017, of companies listed in B3 in June 2017. The qualitative analysis was performed to identify the firm-State interactions in the reports and to classify them into types of legitimacy strategies via CSR. Regression analyzes showed the differences in the adoption of political legitimation strategies via CSR between companies that have foundations and those that do not have. The following hypotheses have been defined: H1 - Companies with Corporate Foundations engage in more CSR activities that creates new political arrangements ("Policy exploration” strategy) than companies that do not have CF’s; H2 - Companies that have Corporate Foundations engage in more CSR activities that creates new capacities for the state to respond to socio-environmental issues (" Capacity exploration” strategy) than companies that do not have CF’s; H3 - Companies with Corporate Foundations collaborate more intensively with non-profit organizations than those without CF’s. The general data (companies with and without CF’s) show a greater average of activities of political legitimacy via CSR activities classified as “Policy Exploitation" strategy, indicating a dependence of CSR activities on incentive laws and in compliance with regulations in areas such as the environment. Regarding to the CF's, regression analyzes showed a significant influence of the CF's in “Policy exploration" and " Capacity exploration" strategies. There were found activities in the area of sectoral public policies formulation, education. In addition to to those indirect activities on the State, the reports showed the foundations’ involvement in public management, providing new solutions to social problems in partnership with the State. This thesis adds to Political CSR approaches an actor neglected in previous studies: the CF's. The main mechanism of their political role is the articulation they make between the state, society and NGOs. As a managerial contribution, the results show that corporate citizenship is the result of articulation with several actors and long-term commitment. For public policies, they reinforce the State's need to encourage CSR through incentive laws. They also show the role of the State in ensuring a good balance of power among the various social actors in the formulation of public policies.
*Abstract provided by the author