ABSTRACT

In continental Europe, corporate social responsibility (CSR) is once again a public issue. This is partly due to globalization and liberalization, partly due to the perceived weakening of public welfare (cf. Vogel 2005; Hiß 2006; Bluhm 2008; Hassel 2008). Many scholars see in the CSR movement since the mid-1990s a development that leads continental European companies away from their former ‘implicit’ mode of taking responsibility for society, towards an Anglo-American, demonstrative style of ‘explicit’ CSR (Matten and Moon 2008). Germany is often regarded as a leading case of this development. The perspective implies a tendency towards the substitution of binding, collective labour relations with broader, stakeholder-oriented, voluntary CSR (cf. Habisch 2006; Hiß 2009), supported by an ideological turn toward neoliberalism (Imbusch and Rucht 2007; Kinderman 2008). However, other research still stresses the persisting institutional and cultural peculiarities of continental European capitalism and how companies define their responsibility (Campbell 2007; Gjølberg 2009; Witt and Redding 2012).