Institutional drivers for corporate social responsibility in the utilities sector
Keywords:Institutional analysis, Corporate social responsibility, Utilities sector, Corporate social performance
Purpose – The purpose of this study is to examine the influence of characteristics of the institutional
environment on the disclosure of corporate social responsibility (CSR).
Design/methodology/approach – This is a quantitative and descriptive research. The dependent variables
used were environmental dimension (ED) and social dimension (SD) that together compose the corporate social
performance (CSP). The independent variables that will be used are the characteristics of the institutional
environments of Brazil and the UK. Thus, for this end, variables of the national business system of both countries
will be used: corruption transparency, access to credit by countries, quality of the education system and labor
relations. After their collection, the data were submitted to descriptive and inferential statistics and hierarchical
Findings – Data show that UK companies make more disclosure in CSR than Brazilian companies. Through
linear regression, it can be seen that the institutional environment affects disclosure in CSR. In the UK, a country
with better educational, labor, political and financial indicators than Brazil, it presented better CSR practices. The
findings reveal that the better an institutional environment, the more firms act in CSR. The findings of the research
confirm the premise of institutional theory: different institutional fields can modify business performance.
Research limitations/implications – The study analyzed only the disclosure practices of companies in the
public sector. Thus, the results should be carefully analyzed, without generalizations for all industry sectors.
Therefore, it is suggested that future research looks at other industry sectors as well as other institutional
contexts, i.e. other countries.
Practical implications – Multinational companies may have different CSR practices according to the
institutional environment in which they operate. For example, companies in developed countries, such as the
UK, have greater stakeholder pressure. Given this, managers must adapt their environmental strategies
according to the institutional environment in which they operate.
Originality/value – This research contributes to CSR studies in various institutional contexts. There is a
consensus in the literature that institutional environments affect firms’ CSR practices. However, few empirical
studies show results between the national business system and CSR. Thus, the present study intends to fill this