Multinational firms' leadership role in corporate social responsibility in Latin America

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Conference Proceeding

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This paper explores the commitment to corporate citizenship on the part of the largest U.S.-based multinationals in the emerging market region of Latin America. The websites of the largest U.S.-based firms - according to the 2007 Fortune 500 list - are reviewed and their CSR efforts in Latin America are noted. The firms' positions on corporate citizenship in Latin America are mapped onto a three-by-three matrix in which firms' commitment to corporate citizenship ranges from profit-making motivations to a more holistic approach where support for non-profit causes is embraced by the entire firm and implemented at all levels (Marsden, Business and Society Review 105(1), 9-26, 2000). The largest U.S.-based multinationals were selected for this study because of their leadership role and the fact that other firms within their respective industries may seek to emulate the firms' level of commitment to corporate citizenship. While the matrix can be used to evaluate corporate citizenship efforts in any market - or globally - the emphasis in this study is on Latin America, a region of interest for two reasons: because of the paucity of research on this particular emerging market region as it relates to CSR, and because there is some evidence to suggest that philanthropic initiatives by the region's wealthy individuals lag behind individual philanthropic efforts in other world regions (Oppenheimer, Latin America's Rich Should Donate More. McClatchey-Tribune Regional News, 2007). If this is the case, this study aims to identify whether companies are picking up the slack. "You make a living by what you get; but you make a life by what you give." Winston Churchill © 2008 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

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Journal of Business Ethics

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