Corporate social responsibility in Vietnam: opportunities and innovation experienced by multinational corporation subsidiaries

Hieu Thanh Nguyen (Faculty of Business Management, National Economics University, Hanoi, Vietnam)
Thinh Gia Hoang (Roehampton University, London, UK, and Centre for Applied Economics and Business Research, Hanoi, Vietnam)
Hiep Luu (University of St Andrews, St Andrews, UK)

Social Responsibility Journal

ISSN: 1747-1117

Publication date: 9 August 2019

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to examine corporate social responsibility (CSR) with the opportunity- and innovation-based view of multinational subsidiaries (MNSs) in Vietnam. While CSR has traditionally been investigated in the developed market, this paper demonstrates how MNSs can take advantage of their CSR practises and create business opportunities and innovation activities for themselves and local society in Vietnam.

Design/methodology/approach

This is an exploratory qualitative research-based on four MNSs that have practised CSR in Vietnam. Data were collected from 18 individual interviews with managers and business leaders in four case firms.

Findings

This study finds that CSR activities in the studied firms potentially drive new business opportunities and innovation in the form of product, process, idea and management practises. In addition, both opportunities and innovation also benefit MNSs and the local community in Vietnam.

Research limitations/implications

The paper makes clear that CSR literature varies depending on the different countries or areas where the studies take place and these studies tend to focus on a specific area that was appropriate within a particular socio-economic and political context. Given that the business context in Vietnam is characterised by opportunities and incentives for innovation from the socio-economic of the context of a South East Asian developing market, the research provides an important first step in the integration and consolidation of CSR practises, opportunities and innovation. In light of the findings presented above, the study provides an important contribution to the CSR literature, particularly the CSR practises of multinational corporations (MNCs) in developing countries.

Practical implications

The study suggests that CSR practitioners in Asian emerging countries should ground themselves in an understanding of the local society and try to gain an understanding of the priorities of local stakeholders. MNCs should develop an appreciation of the context in which CSR is initiated, as addressing such issues often inspires firms to bring in social innovations in the form of products, services and processes and discover or create opportunities based on the emergent social problems through business solutions that overall benefit their business and local stakeholders.

Originality/value

This is one of the first studies to explore the interaction between MNSs undertaking CSR and business opportunities and innovation in the context of a developing country – Vietnam.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors wish to acknowledge the comments and suggestions received from Professor David Crowther, guest editor Shahla Seifi and anonymous reviewers. This research is funded by Vietnam National Foundation for Science and Technology Development (NAFOSTED) under grant number 502.02-2020.09.

Citation

Nguyen, H.T., Hoang, T.G. and Luu, H. (2019), "Corporate social responsibility in Vietnam: opportunities and innovation experienced by multinational corporation subsidiaries", Social Responsibility Journal, Vol. 16 No. 6, pp. 771-792. https://doi.org/10.1108/SRJ-02-2019-0082

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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