CSR in India: Reflections from the banking sector

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8 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose - This paper aims to explore corporate social responsibility (CSR) within the Indian context, focusing on the banking sector. This is of particular importance at this time given the financial industry's pivotal role in driving forward India's growth; this paper contributes to the literature on the operationalisation of CSR within one of the world's fastest growing economies. Design/methodology/approach - The paper presents empirical, on-the-ground qualitative evidence from the Indian finance sector with regard to CSR operations and motivations. Data are based primarily on a series of semi-structured interviews with "elite" participants; senior officials operating in the banking sector. Findings - The paper offers insight into four levels of CSR engagement which currently exist in the day-to-day operations of Indian companies. Of significance to debates on CSR trends and strategies, the paper presents evidence to suggest that western CSR initiatives are influencing executives in India; ultimately causing a reactive response of an ad-hoc nature. Research limitations/implications - While the focus of this paper is the Indian finance industry, the trends within this sector and emerging practice, one must be cautious about making broad generalisations about CSR in India based on the data presented here. Originality/value - A focus on responsible project finance and CSR is imperative at this time of major infrastructure growth in Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC) economies; indigenous financial institutions have a crucial role to play in social and economic development. Through a focus on four modes of engagement, which emerged from empirically grounded data collection, this paper highlights multiple forms of commitment and motivation which are often overlooked when reviewing CSR primarily through reporting methods.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-37
Number of pages17
JournalSocial Responsibility Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


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