Corporate social responsibility in Ukraine : cynical utilitarianism or Aristotelian 'Common Good'?
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has been researched extensively in Western Europe (Steurer and Konrad, 2009), and to some extent in Central and Eastern Europe (e.g. Furrer et al., 2010). Empirical research in the former USSR, however, has been limited. This paper aims to address this deficiency, presenting the results of a study of CSR drivers in Ukraine. We conducted 19 semi-structured interviews with managers, NGO representatives and academics in Ukraine. Our preliminary findings suggest that CSR adopters in Ukraine tend to fall into two main categories. Following Garriga and Melé’s (2004) typology, we discern a group that takes a predominantly utilitarian approach to defining its social obligations, adopting CSR practices in response to actual and perceived external demands. Such organisations tend to be newer (post-USSR era) companies, and/or those whose clients and investors are located mainly abroad. The second type consists of more locally embedded concerns, whose owners and managers adopt a predominantly normative approach to CSR, adhering to practices that originated in the Soviet period, whilst striving for economic viability in a new era of market orientation. Our study casts light on the divergent paths taken by organizations in a distinctive transitional setting in order to gain social and economic legitimacy.