The Instrumentalization of CSR by Rent-Seeking Governments: Lessons From Tanzania

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

This article examines how corporate social responsibility (CSR) can serve as an external source of rents for governments that depend on foreign financing for state-building and development. The strategic, instrumental use of CSR has been overlooked in previous research on governments and CSR, especially in the Global South. To understand how CSR can serve as a lever for rents, the concept of “extraversion” is introduced to describe the way in which rent-seeking African governments instrumentalize their asymmetric external relations for political and private benefit. The connection between CSR and rent-seeking is analyzed through a case study of large gas investments in Tanzania. The article finds that the government has set up regulation that enables local and central government authorities to appropriate, mediate, reclaim, or possibly trick CSR practices to gain rents. Based on the study, two contributions are made to the literature on CSR and governments. First, the instrumental use of CSR in the Global South is added to the variety of perspectives that can be taken when studying government agency. Second, CSR is conceptualized as a potential stream of rents for governments to exploit. The article ends with discussing that the outcome of CSR in a rent-seeking environment depends on whether the leveraged resources are managed well to support peaceful and locally beneficial economic development or whether they serve private accumulation through corruption.
Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalBusiness & Society
ISSN0007-6503
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 07.11.2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed

Keywords

  • 512 Business and Management
  • corporate social responsibility (CSR)
  • extraversion
  • instrumentalization
  • rent
  • rent-seeking

Areas of Strength and Areas of High Potential (AoS and AoHP)

  • AoS: Responsible organising

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