The Role of Interest Groups and Governmental Agencies in Influencing Corporate Social Responsibility

Open Access
Author:
Demartino, Sarah
Area of Honors:
Political Science
Degree:
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Marie Hojnacki, Thesis Supervisor
  • Michael Barth Berkman, Honors Advisor
Keywords:
  • Interest Groups
  • Governmental Agencies
  • Corporate Social Responsibility
  • CSR
  • Fair Trade
  • Cocoa
  • Chocolate
  • Child Labor
Abstract:
Corporations are under more and more pressure to be socially responsible corporate citizens, whether it be by improving labor standards or promoting environmental sustainability. For a variety of reasons, among them the desire to avoid public relations nightmares like those created by the fire at the garment factory in Bangladesh or Apple’s Foxconn scandal, businesses are becoming more socially responsible. My research seeks to examine why corporations adopt more ethical business practices, and how interest groups, governmental agencies, and other organizations, facilitate such changes. Specifically, I use the cocoa industry, namely Hershey, Nestlé, Cadbury, and Mars, as a case study for examining whether or not outside groups have an effect over a corporation’s decision to commit to corporate social responsibility (CSR). I look at how groups directly and indirectly try to influence corporations through positive and negative pressuring techniques, and through the media. I find that groups may well have influence in a corporation’s decision to commit to CSR, but additional sources of pressures must be present as well.