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S Hiss Working Paper 140/04

Stefanie Hiss

CSGR Working Paper No. 140/04

September 2004


This paper is concerned with why and how multinational companies (MNCs) voluntarily engage in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), especially in social standards.

The first part describes the prevailing perspectives on the CSR debate. Then, with the New Institutionalism in Sociology, an alternative view on CSR is discussed. The third part develops the argument that the ‘traditional’ rational institutional myth developed by Meyer and Rowan should be replaced or supplemented by a CSR myth. After that, the case study of “Round Table Codes of Conduct” provides an example of how MNCs deal with this emerging CSR myth.

Keywords: Multinational Companies, Corporate Social Responsibility, Social Standards, New Institutionalism in Sociology, ‘CSR-Myth’, Multi-Stakeholder Forum, Round Table Codes of Conduct, Transparency

Address for correspondence:

Stefanie Hiß

Graduiertenkolleg „Märkte und Sozialräume in Europa“

(Research Training Group “Markets and Social Systems in Europe”)

Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg

Lichtenhaidestr. 11

96052 Bamberg, Germany

Phone: +49 (0)951 2971216

Email: or