The Impact of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) on Management Training Programmes: An Investigation in the Chinese Context

Bin Jia

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Against the backdrop of the popularity of corporate social responsibility (CSR),
this thesis investigates the impact of CSR on management training programmes in China. CSR is important for management training not only because the fairness of training opportunities is part of the requirements of CSR standards, but also because it emphasises corporate support for continual learning by individuals. However, the existing literature has little to say about the conditions under which CSR may have an impact on management training and development. This applies in particular to the contexts of emerging economies and the financial sector. Thereby, by employing institutional theory, this research investigates how CSR affects management training in Chinese financial companies.

The qualitative data suggest an expansion of CSR activities in the Chinese context, led by pressures from legislation on CSR disclosure, local government, peers and social traditions. In the case companies, differences in organisational size and industrial characteristics drive differences in CSR practices regarding CSR reporting systems and CSR priorities given to stakeholders. The research findings also underline the impact that CSR policies and industrial characteristics have on two substantive differences, namely the scope of management training provision and the availability of mentoring support. Nonetheless, CSR has little influence on trainees’ engagement with setting priorities for and implementing management training, as a result of a dominant emphasis in the sample firms on a top-down management approach.

By discussing such empirical observations, this thesis explores two forms of
decoupling phenomena of CSR and investigates the usefulness of company
characteristics, such as strategic orientation, and competing pressures in analysing how companies set CSR priorities and implement management training. Therefore, beyond its contributions to the knowledge of CSR and management training, this study also advances the power of institutional theory in explaining firms’ symbolic responses to external pressures.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Preuss, Lutz, Supervisor
  • Gamble, Jos, Advisor
Award date1 Jun 2015
Publication statusUnpublished - 2015

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