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M. B. KIMBRO* , A. T. ABRAHAM, C. J. LAMBE & V. JONES *Corresponding Author

Corporate Social Responsibility: The Efficacy of Matched Alliances between Not-for-Profits & Multinational Enterprises in Developed and Emerging Markets

Responding to Pope Francis’ appeals in Laudato Si’ and to societal pressures, multinational enterprises (MNEs; Dunning, 1977) are increasingly searching for ways to structure demands for corporate social responsibility (CSR). However, previous literature suggests that the positive effects of CSR initiatives are not certain. Additionally, alliance-based CSR remains understudied. Therefore, based on a “matched” alliance approach, we propose a model to increase the efficacy of, and positive response to, CSR initiatives. We argue that, by partnering with not-for-profit (NFP; Schwenk, 1990) organizations in alliances that “match” common objectives with complementary capabilities, MNEs increase CSR initiatives’ legitimacy and/or business-process efficiency, which results in positive responses to CSR initiatives. We propose that CSR activities from matched alliances of MNEs and NFPs will result in positive media coverage, that CSR activities from matched alliances between a local MNE and local NFPs will result in more positive media coverage (vs. foreign MNE and local NFPs), and that CSR activities from matched alliances of local MNEs and NFPs in an emerging (vs. developed) market will result in more positive media coverage. Our case and media-intensity analyses for Walmart’s Katrina Assistance, Infosys’s Campus Connect, and Unilever’s Project Shakti span matched alliances by local and foreign MNEs in emerging and developed markets. Our findings document positive media coverage surrounding CSR initiatives wherein MNEs partner with matched local NFPs. Additionally, positive media coverage is more for local rather than foreign MNEs, and for CSR initiatives in emerging rather than developed markets.