Reconsidering Instrumental Corporate Social Responsibility through the Mafia Metaphor

Basu, Kunal, Gond, Jean-Pascal and Palazzo, Guido (2009) Reconsidering Instrumental Corporate Social Responsibility through the Mafia Metaphor. Business Ethics Quarterly, 19 (1). pp. 57-85.


The purpose of this paper is to critically evaluate the instrumental perspective on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in practice and theory by relying on sociological analyses of a well known organization: the Italian Mafia. Legal businesses might share features of the Mafia, such as the propensity to exploit a governance vacuum in society, a strong organizational identity that demarcates the inside from the outside, and an extreme profit motive. Instrumental CSR practices have the power to accelerate a firm's transition to Mafia status through its own pathologies. The boundaries of such instrumentalism are explored and lessons for future CSR research derived, with specific emphasis on a firm's social and normative embeddedness, taking into account the inherent challenge of regulating corporate behaviour in the global economy.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Social responsibility of business; Research; Organizational ideology; Corporate culture; Business ethics; Globalization
Subject(s): Corporate reputation
Centre: Oxford University Centre for Corporate Reputation
Date Deposited: 25 Feb 2012 20:51
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2018 10:37

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