Content in the context of welfare configurations: a comparative institutional analysis of self-reporting on corporate social responsibility

Brita Backlund Rambaree (Department of Social Work and Psychology, University of Gävle, Gävle, Sweden)

Social Responsibility Journal

ISSN: 1747-1117

Publication date: 24 June 2019



The purpose of this paper is to examine corporate social responsibility (CSR) content in the context of four differing national institutional arrangements for welfare. An analysis is presented on how self-reported CSR differs in content across two western welfare states (the UK and Sweden) and two emerging economies in southern Africa (South Africa and Mauritius).


This paper is based on a qualitative content analysis of the CSR self-reporting of 40 companies. This involved 10 of the largest companies incorporated in four countries, namely, Sweden, the UK, South Africa and Mauritius. The content is categorised into community involvement, socially responsible production and socially responsible employee relations. For each category, an analysis is provided of the reported issues (the question of what), the geographic focus of reported issues (the question of where) and ways of working with these issues (the question of how), as well as the extent of reporting and level of reporting (the question of how much).


The study shows that companies place focus on aspects, issues and localities in ways that differ between countries and can be understood in relation to current institutional arrangements for welfare. The content of self-reported CSR can be both complementing and mirroring the welfare arrangements. Differences in self-reported CSR agendas are particularly evident between the two western welfare states on the one hand and the two emerging economies on the other, as these represent two distinct contexts in terms of welfare arrangements.


This paper contributes to research on the institutional embeddedness of CSR in three ways: first, by going beyond measures of country differences in terms of extent of CSR to consider differences in CSR content; second, by focusing on the social aspects of CSR and placing these differences in relation to welfare configurations; and third, by contributing with empirical findings on how CSR content differs across national settings and across the established/emerging economy divide.



Backlund Rambaree, B. (2019), "Content in the context of welfare configurations: a comparative institutional analysis of self-reporting on corporate social responsibility", Social Responsibility Journal, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.

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