CSR perception as a signpost for circular economy

Björn Esken*, Maria Laura Franco-Garcia, Olaf A.M. Fisscher

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)
93 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: This paper aims to identify managerial implications for multinational corporations (MNCs) with regard to circular economy (CE) by using data on corporate social responsibility (CSR) perception in different types of market economies owing to diverse institutional contexts. These managerial implications can contribute to the linking of CSR and CE strategies for MNCs.

Design/methodology/approach: This is an empirical study with a mixed-methods approach using both quantitative and qualitative research elements. The varieties of capitalism (VOC) approach with its two kinds of market economies – liberal market economy (LME) and coordinated market economy (CME) – builds the theoretical foundation.

Findings: All three guiding hypotheses of the quantitative research part are confirmed, which are: there is a differing perception of CSR in the two kinds of VOC; LME corporations adopt a shareholder value perspective; and CME corporations adopt a stakeholder values perspective. Furthermore, the qualitative research part has identified several key success factors for strategically conducting CSR in nexus with CE.

Practical implications: The mentioned key success factors become managerial implications for MNCs aiming at strategically conducting CSR. Due to several crossing points between (strategic) CSR and CE, those implications are largely also eligible for CE.

Originality/value: The paper helps to propel empirical findings into a more up-to-date discourse of debate. By emphasizing that the institutional background is likely to have an effect on how CSR is perceived in different kinds of market economies, the research offers a proposition how to use CSR perception as a signpost for CE and fuel future research into this direction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)586-604
Number of pages19
JournalManagement research review
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Circular economy
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • CSR
  • MNCs
  • Multinational corporations
  • Strategic CSR
  • Varieties of capitalism
  • VOC
  • Business ethics and sustainability
  • 2023 OA procedure


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