Role of Corporate Social Responsibility in International Marketing

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Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is an issue that has raised major concerns for marketers in the past. However, it is until recently that it has attracted the attention of international marketers around the world. The authors indicate that in the past two decades, research to CSR in the context of international marketing has experienced a surging trend which is significantly diverse and fragmented. In this regard, the critical assessment aims at reviewing in the peer review journal regarding the role of CSR activities in the context of global marketing.


According to the authors, international marketers fail to observe CSR initiatives because of the operational freedoms that they experience in the foreign (Eteokleous, Leonidou and Katsikeas 2016, p.4). In essence, the assertion is true but not in its entirety. Foreign markets are characterised by strange rules and regulations of different parts of the world. International marketers have to adhere to the working provision of the new markets that they are penetrating. Indeed, international marketers are likely to experience backlashes in their new target markets. Exploring global markets imply that an organisation introduces new competition to different foreign economies which are met by stringent rules. Various governments wish to protect their local infant industries, and hence they impose high taxes on international products, and this makes it difficult for the marketers to engage in significant CSR initiatives.

Historical evolution of CSR and its link to international marketing

CSR was introduced in the early 1950s through the development of the policy of pursuing desirable values and objectives of the society. At the time, the social initiatives were regarded with skepticism by practitioners and scholars with the argument that they could suppress an organisation’s profitability. Into the 1960s and 70s, there was a gradual acceptance of the initiative as a norm in the practice of business. In the 80s, there was the spread of CSR concepts later followed by the development and implementation of strategic management perspectives regarding the administration of the initiatives to the society. From the 2000s to date, CSR has become an integral part of the business organisation. It has been integrated with different corporate functions such as marketing on the global platform (Eteokleous, Leonidou and Katsikeas 2016, p.9). In this section, the authors have chronologically arranged the flow of events from the first introduction of CSR and the way today it is integrated with individual business activities. From a personal standpoint, the authors have expressed the evolution of CSR in detail and comprehensively enough.

Investigation method

The authors have used a qualitative research approach in reviewing secondary sources in developing the peer review journal. The sources used by the authors have an explicit focus on the connection between international marketing and CSR. One of the main strengths regarding the research methodology of this peer review article is that the sources used are credible academic journals. Also, the sources are conceptual, methodological, and empirical in nature which further enhances their credibility to offer information that can be substantiated over time. Further, the sources have an international flavour, and so they talk about foreign markets and compare CSR issues in various countries. The relevance of the sources is founded on the fact that they address the role of CSR with the management function of international marketing.

The main weakness regarding the investigation method in the article is that it largely relies on qualitative research. There is minimal reference to quantitative metrics regarding the role that CSR plays in international marketing. The qualitative approach comes with verifiable measures that support the findings of different types of studies. The coding protocol used in article content analysis is based on unclear criteria. The basis used in coding the sources are relative and could rank differently on the assessment of diverse personnel. Also, there is a weakness in the sources because some of them are outdated. Narrating the evolution of CSR using relatively old sources is admissible but developing a connection between CSR and international market on a source which is more than ten years old is a weak approach to the development of the peer review article. In totality, the investigation method used by the authors is admissible and gives a credible way of obtaining information regarding the topic of discussion.

Theoretical assessment

In this section of the article, the authors evaluate the conceptual underpinnings of the sources used. It is evident that more than a third of the reviewed sources were not founded on specific theories. The stakeholder theory is the most broadly used concept in the article, which is a positive aspect of the development of the article. CSR is a sensitive element in corporate activities, and so there is the need to address the needs and wants of different organisational stakeholders in implementing CSR in international marketing (Eteokleous, Leonidou and Katsikeas 2016, p.11). The theory builds up the paper through the contribution of examining the stakeholders that draw the attention of organisational social reporting. In this respect, the authors are justified to address the philosophy in the development of the paper because it is greatly pertinent to the integration of CSR and the management of international marketing.

Further, the authors are justified to look into the institutional theory. Institutions encompass activities and structures which come with stability and meaning to social demeanor. In this sense, the institutional theory is greatly associated with the concept of CSR from a corporate perspective. Information processing theory, legitimacy theory, the resource-dependency theory, resource-based view and the agency theory, were other philosophical approaches that were instrumental in the development of the peer review article (Eteokleous, Leonidou and Katsikeas 2016, p.12). The scholarly theories add more credibility to the article, and hence it can be used for academic purposes.

The authors make different observations regarding the theoretical background of CSR studies in the context of international marketing. A majority of scholars apply theoretical concepts in discussing CSR in international marketing, and this shows continued efforts in supporting arguments with the theoretical rationale in the topic. In the sources used, there is a trend of broadening the range of theoretical approaches. It is a strength of research because it embraces a high understanding of the key issues (Eteokleous, Leonidou and Katsikeas 2016, p.14). In totality, there is extensive support of the arguments presented in the article with past works done by other renowned scholars. This is a strong element in the article because the end product can be used variably in different academic contexts.

Empirical assessment

In the article, key issues that address the connection between international marketing and CSR are categorised into various classes. The external environmental influences category encompasses the factors that are beyond the control of an organisation regarding its operations on a global platform. Factors such as culture are beyond the prerogative of the organisations, and yet they affect the administration of CSR activities, and hence the researchers are justified to encompass this category. Further, there are internal influences within an organisational setting (Eteokleous, Leonidou and Katsikeas 2016, p.16). Different internal players determine the manner in which resources are distributed to various organisational functions, and since internal stakeholders may have various views regarding CSR activities, the authors are correct in considering this category of issues.

Additionally, the researchers are keen to look into barriers and stimuli of the adoption of CSR in an international environment. On a global scope, some parties promote and discourage CSR and hence addressing them in the context of international marketing is a supporting element in the document. Consumer-related aspects of CSR in international marketing are instrumental in building up the article (Eteokleous, Leonidou and Katsikeas 2016, p.17). Clients may identify themselves with an organisation due to the manner in which it is giving back to the society and hence consider them in developing the article is a rational decision on the side of the researchers.

The article encompasses a broad examination of the bottom of the pyramid (BoP) markets. International business deals with markets of diverse nature, and in consideration of these markets, the administration of CSR in international marketing can assist in poverty alleviation and subsequent profitability for an organisation (Eteokleous, Leonidou and Katsikeas 2016, p.20). In the article, there is the advocacy for socially responsible marketing which is the key element of encompassing CSR in global marketing. The interaction between the two aspects is paramount, and so the researchers are greatly justified to include the both of them in developing the article.

The communication of CSR activities in international marketing is an instrumental function because it comes with transparency. The authors are correct in addressing communication because failure to have a smooth flow of information regarding the activities could result in audit queries regarding the appropriation of organisational resources. Further, in the empirical evaluation, the authors considered the implications and outcomes of CSR in the context of international marketing. In essence, the CSR activities should be founded on the best and common interests of the organisation and the larger society (Eteokleous, Leonidou and Katsikeas 2016, p.26). For this reason; the authors did the correct thing to look into the probable implications of the administration of the CSR activities on a global platform. The empirical assessment was instrumental in the development of the paper. It is strong because it reflects the ideal and practical situation of integrating CSR and international marketing from a management perspective.

Conclusion and recommendations

In totality, the article is well developed and written because the final product is coherent, chronological, and pertinent to the topic of discussion. However, it is rocked by some limitations such as the issues highlighted about the sources used. It could be important for the researchers to shun the traditional approach of the articles collected and augment the studies through the utilisation of bibliometric analysis. Further, adopting more of the quantitative approach will go a long way in developing quantifiable evidence pertaining to CSR and international marketing. In this respect, the authors ought to have conducted more of groundwork research through data collection, analysis, and interpretation.

Further, the analysis of the current role that CSR is playing in international marketing should have been done exclusively concerning more recent sources. Although recent sources were used, some seem to be outdated, and they should not have been used at all in the article. In totality, the peer review article is succinct, relevant, and credible for academic use and hence its positive aspects outweigh the few negativities.


Eteokleous, P.P., Leonidou, L.C. and Katsikeas, C.S., 2016. Corporate social responsibility in international marketing: review, assessment, and future research. International Marketing Review, 33(4), pp.2-36.

January 19, 2024



Corporations Marketing

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