Skip to main content Accessibility help

Managing corporate responsibility globally and locally: Lessons from a CR leader

  • Dana Brown and Jette Steen Knudsen (a1)


Corporate Responsibility (CR) is today an essential component of corporate global strategy. CR can bolster the institutional context for market expansion fill institutional voids or facilitate market entry as a component of non-market strategy. Yet, in fulfilling these functions, CR may need to be highly sensitive to local contexts. How can transnational firms organize CR so as to maximize efficiencies from globalization and to minimize the fragmentation of corporate organizational cultures? provide a framework for analyzing the way that corporations coordinate global and local functions. We build on this framework in a case study of Novo Nordisk and its approach to determining global and local CR policies and procedures with regard to its China and US subsidiaries. Our findings suggest that it is important for companies to define a common set of organizational norms. In addition, CR need to be sensitive to local institutional contexts, but learning from subsidiary experience is important and lends itself to standardization and replication of initiatives across market contexts.

    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Managing corporate responsibility globally and locally: Lessons from a CR leader
      Available formats

      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Managing corporate responsibility globally and locally: Lessons from a CR leader
      Available formats

      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Managing corporate responsibility globally and locally: Lessons from a CR leader
      Available formats


Corresponding author

* EMLYON Business School, E-mail:


Hide All
Aguilera, R. V., Williams, C. A., Conley, J. M. and Rupp, D. 2006. “Corporate governance and social responsibility: a comparative analysis of the UK and the US.” Corporate Governance: An International Review 14 (3): 147158.
Almond, P., Edwards, T., Collin, T., Ferner, A., Gunnigle, P., Muller-Camen, M., Quintanilla, J. and Wachter, H. 2005. “Unravelling home and host country effects: an investigation of the HR policies of an American multinational in four European countries.” Industrial Relations 44 (2): 276306.
Andersen, P. H. 2008. “Knowledge versus learning in internationalization of offshoring activities in China: a case study.” Journal of Engineering, Technology and Management 25: 184199.
Arena, C. 2007. The high purpose company. New York City, NY: Harper Collins.
Baron, D. P. 1995. “Integrated strategy: market and nonmarket components.” California Management Review 37 (2): 4765.
Baron, D. P. 2006. Business and its environment. 5th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Bartlett, C. A. and Ghoshal, S. 1989. Managing across borders. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.
Bondy, K., Matten, D. and Moon, J. 2004. “The adoption of voluntary codes of conduct in mncs: a three-country comparative study.” Business and Society Review 109 (4): 449477.
Campbell, J. L. 2007. “Why would corporations behave in socially responsible ways? An institutional theory of corporate social responsibility.” Academy of Management Review 32 (3): 946967.
Carr, F. 1994. “Introducing teamworking: a motor industry case study.” Industrial Relations Journal 25 (3): 199209.
DeGeorge, R. T. 2008. “An American perspective on corporate social responsibility and the tenuous relevance of Jacques Derrida.” Business Ethics: A European Review 17 (1): 7486.
Devinney, T. 2009. “Is the socially responsible corporation a myth? The Good, bad and ugly of corporate social responsibility.” Academy of Management Perspectives 23 (2): 4456.
Dickman, M., Muller-Camen, M. and Kelliher, C. 2009. “Exploring standardization and knowledge networking processes in transnational human resource management.” Personnel Review 38 (1): 525.
Dobbin, F. R. 2009. Inventing equal opportunity. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Donaldson, T. and Dunfee, T. W. 1994. “Toward a unified conception of business ethics: integrative social contracts theory.” Academy of Management Review 19 (2): 252284.
Donaldson, T. and Dunfee, T. W. 1999. Ties that bind: a social contracts approach to business ethics. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.
Eckstein, H. 1975. “Case study and theory in political science.” In: Greenstein, F. I., Polsby, N. W. (eds.), The handbook of political science. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, pp. 79138.
Ferner, A. and Quintanilla, J. 1998. “Multinationals, national identity, and the management of HRM: ‘Anglo-Saxonisation’ and its limits.” International Journal of Human Resource Management, August 1998.
Gardberg, N. A. and Fombrun, C. J. 2006. “Corporate citizenship: creating intangible assets across institutional environments.” Academy of Management Review 2006 31 (2): 329346.
Ghemawat, P. 2007. Redefining global strategy: Crossing borders in a world where differences matter. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.
Gond, J.-P., Kang, N. and Moon, J. 2011. “The government of self-regulation: On the comparative dynamics of corporate social responsibility.” Economy and Society 40 (4): 640671.
Gupta, A. K. and Govindarajan, V. 2002. “Cultivating a global mindset.” Academy of Management Executive 16 (1): 116126.
Hall, P. A. and Soskice, D. eds. 2001. Varieties of capitalism: the institutional foundations of comparative advantage. New York, Oxford: University Press.
Haipeter, T. 2002. “Banking and finance in France and Germany, new regulations of work and working time: a challenge for the trade unions?Transfer 3 (2): 493503.
Harzing, A. W. and Sorge, A. M. 2003. “The relative impact of country-of-origin and universal contingencies on internationalization strategies and corporate control in multinational enterprises: world-wide and European perspectives.” Organisation Studies 24 (2): 187214.
Husted, B. W. and Allen, D. B. 2006. “Corporate social responsibility in the multi-national enterprise: strategic and institutionalist approaches.” Journal of International Business Studies 37 (6): 838849.
Jackson, G. and Apostolakou, A. 2010. “Corporate social responsibility in Western Europe: CR as an institutional mirror or a substitute?Journal of Business Ethics 94 (3): 371394.
Jamali, D. 2010. “The CR of MNC subsidiaries in developing countries: Global, local, substantive or diluted.” Journal of Business Ethics 93: 181200.
Joyner, B. E. and Payne, D. 2002. “Evolution and implementation: a study of values, business ethics and corporate social responsibility.” Journal of Business Ethics 41 (4): 297311.
Kapstein, E. B. 2001. “The corporate ethics crusade.” Foreign Affairs 80 (5): 105119.
Karnani, A. 2011. “Doing well by doing good – the grand illusion.” California Management Review 53 (2): 6986.
Khanna, T., Palepu, K. G. and Sinha, J. 2005. “Strategies that fit emerging markets.” Harvard Business Review 83 (6): 6376.
Kim, Y. and Kim, S.-Y. 2009. “The influence of cultural values on the perceptions of corporate social responsibility: application of Hofstede's dimensions to Korean public relations practitioners.” Journal of Business Ethics 91 (4): 485500.
Knudsen, J. S. 2011. “Private sector career trajectories for women in Denmark and the US: Welfare state vs. corporate diversity programs.” European Journal of Industrial Relations 17 (3): 261275.
Kostova, T. and Roth, K. 2002. “Adoption of an organizational practice by subsidiaries of multinational corporations: institutional and relational effects.” Academy of Management Journal 45 (1), 215233.
Kostova, T. and Zaheer, S. 1999. “Organizational legitimacy under conditions of complexity: the case of the multinational enterprise.” Academy of Management Review 24 (1), 6481.
Logsdon, J. M. and Wood, D. J. 2005. “Global business citizenship and voluntary codes of ethical conduct.” Journal of Business Ethics 59 (1–2): 5567.
Maignan, I. 2001. “Consumers’ perceptions of corporate social responsibilities: a cross-cultural comparison.” Journal of Business Ethics 30 (1): 5772.
Maignan, I. and Ralston, D. A. 2002. “Corporate social responsibility in Europe and the US: insights from businesses’ self-presentations.” Journal of International Business Studies 33 (3): 497514.
Margolis, J. D. and Walsh, J. P. 2001. People and profits? the search for a link between a company's social and financial performance. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Matten, D. 2006. “Why do Companies engage in corporate social responsbility? background, reasons and basic concepts.” In: Judith, H., Pohl, M. and Tolhurst, N. (eds.), The ICCA handbook on corporate social responsibility. West Sussex: Wiley, pp. 346.
Matten, D. and Moon, J. 2008. ““Implicit” and “ExplicitCR: A conceptual framework for a comparative understanding of corporate social responsibility.” Academy of Management Review 33 (2): 404424.
Meyer, K. 2008. The Ethics of offshoring: Novo Nordisk and clinical trials in emerging economies. London, Ontario: Richard Ivey School of Business Foundation.
Mayer, M. and Whittington, R. 2003. “Diversification in context: cross-national and cross-temporal extension.” Strategic Management Journal 24 (8): 773781.
Morsing, M. and Oswald, D. 2006. “Sustainable leadership: management control systems and organizational culture in Novo Nordisk A/S.” Corporate Governance 9 (1): 8399.
Nobel, R. and Birkinshaw, J. 1998. “Innovation in multinational corporations: control and communication pattern in international R&D operations.” Strategic Management Journal 19 (5): 479–96.
Nohria, N. and Ghoshal, S. 1997. The differentiated network: organizations knowledge flows in multinational corporations. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Noorderhaven, N. G. and Wil, H. A. 2003. “The “Country-Of-Origin Effectin multinational corporations: sources, mechanisms and moderating conditions.” Management International Review 43 (2): 4766.
Ohmae, K. 1990. The borderless world: power and strategy in the global marketplace. London: HarperCollins.
Palmisano, S. J. 2006. “The globally integrated enterprise.” Foreign Affairs May/June 2006.
Pettigrew, A. M. 1990. “Longitudinal field research on change, theory, and practice.” Organization Science 1 (3): 267292.
Prahalad, C. K. and Doz, Y. L. 1987. The multinational mission, balancing global integration with local responsiveness. New York: Free Press; London: Collier Macmillan.
Redding, G. and Witte, M. A. 2009. “China's business system and future trajectories.” Asia Pacific Journal of Management 26 (3): 381397.
Reich, R. B. 1998. “The new meaning of corporate social responsibility.” California Management Review 40 (2) Winter: 817.
Ruggie, J. G. 2003. “The United Nations and globalization: patterns and limits of institutional adaptation.” Global Governance 9, Summer.
Sethi, S. P. 2002. “Standards for corporate conduct in the international arena: challenges and opportunities for multinational corporations.” Business and Society Review 107 (1): 2041.
Scherer, A. G. and Palazzo, G. 2007. “Towards a political conception of corporate responsibility business and society seen from a Habermasian perspective.” Academy of Management Review 32 (4): 10961120.
Scherer, A. G. and Palazzo, G. 2011. “The new political role of business in a globalized world: a review of a new perspective on CR and its implications for the firm, governance, and democracy.” Journal of Management Studies 48 (4): 899931.
Sorge, A. 1996. “Societal effects in cross-national organisation studies: conceptualising diversity in actors and systems.” In: Kristensen, P. H. and Whitley, R. (eds.), The changing European firm. London: Routledge: pp. 6786.
Streeck, W. 1996. “Lean production in the german automobile industry: a test case for convergence theory.” In: Suzanne, B. and Dore, R. (eds.), National diversity and global capitalism. New York: Cornell University Press: pp. 138170.
Valente, M. and Crane, A. 2010. “Public responsibility and private enterprise in developing countries.” California Management Review 52 (3): 5278.
Whitley, R. 1999. Divergent capitalisms: the social structuring and change of business systems. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Whitley, R. 2007. Business systems and organizational capabilities: the institutional structuring of competitive competences. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Woywode, M. 2002. “Global manufacturing concepts and local adaptation: working groups in the French and German car manufacturing industry.” Organization Studies 23 (4): 497524.
Yin, R. K. 1994. Case study research: design and methods. 2nd ed. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publishing.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Business and Politics
  • ISSN: -
  • EISSN: 1469-3569
  • URL: /core/journals/business-and-politics
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed