Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Mark Gordon


As China emerges as one of the world's top 5 economies, it attracts more multinational corporations (MNCs) that want to expand there and implement corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs. Despite this emergence, since China entered the World Trade Organization, it has not perceived or welcomed MNCs in the same manner as in the 1970s to 1990s. Further, MNCs have had challenges adapting Western-style CSR programs in China's local communities. There is no widely-accepted multidisciplinary theory that integrates CSR, organizational culture, and culture. Hofstede's theory of cultural relativism classified China as a high power distance country where the population has a strong acceptance of large social differences. The purpose of this case study was to discover the extent to which Hofstede's cultural dimension of power distance impacts MNC CSR programs offered in Hainan, China. Five MNC executives and 1 government sector representative were interviewed, and were reviewed in 5 organizations in Hainan, China. Cross case analyses showed that CSR programs were mutually accepted by the local communities and government. Some local community members, however, did not passively accept what those in higher socioeconomic positions believed about the efficacy and need for CSR programs. Rather, local community and government appeared to collaborate, regardless of the government leaders, who are perceived to have more power and influence. These results can inform policy makers, MNCs, international organizations, and nongovernmental organizations about cultural relativity and its impact on MNCs doing business in foreign communities