Sebastian Koos
The institutional embeddedness of social responsibility: a multilevel analysis of smaller firms? civic engagement in Western Europe

Socio?Economic Review, 2012: 10, issue 1, pp. 135?162

This study sets out to explore the institutional embeddedness of civic engagement in the form of monetary donations and volunteering by firms in Western Europe. Drawing on a recent analysis of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), two contradictory hypotheses—institutional mirror versus substitute—are discussed focusing on three institutional spheres: corporatism, welfare arrangements and statism. The paper argues for moving beyond a linear perspective and takes the interaction of institutional spheres into account. Using a comparative quantitative multilevel approach, institutional, sectoral and organizational determinants of enterprises' civic engagement are empirically analysed drawing on a survey of small- and medium-sized firms in 17 Western European countries. While firm size remains an important determinant of civic engagement, it is shown that the impact of welfare arrangements is conditional on the presence of corporatist arrangements and vice versa. This suggests that civic engagement both mirrors and substitutes for existing institutions, depending on underlying institutional complementarities.