Examining the CSR strategy of MNCs in Bangladesh

Taposh Kumar Roy*, Ahmed Al-Abdin, Ali Quazi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The paper aims to explore and analyze how multinational companies (MNCs) in Bangladesh define corporate social responsibility (CSR) and how CSR is used by these companies as a strategic tool to improve business and social performances. Design/methodology/approach: The authors choose a qualitative case study approach for this study, using multiple semi-structured interviews with 15 CSR managers and secondary data from websites and annual reports. Both primary and secondary data were collected from ten leading MNCs that operate in Bangladesh. Findings: The findings indicate that most of the MNCs in Bangladesh are moving toward strategic CSR and away from the conventional altruistic (philanthropic) CSR. It also appears that stakeholder prioritization and one-way communication are key for managing stakeholders. Research limitations/implications: The most unavoidable limitation of this research lies in sample selection. A total of ten companies were selected because of lack of accessibility to additional MNCs. To overcome this limitation and increase the credibility of findings, the authors triangulate interview and secondary data from annual reports and websites. Practical implications: The findings indicate that MNCs are increasingly recognizing the importance of using their core competencies to generate social benefits. The idea of adopting strategic CSR is predominantly steered by business benefits, which also provide the necessary resources for social and environmental activities Social implications: The findings suggest that the shift from philanthropy to strategic postures leads to creating and fostering social benefits such as developing an entrepreneurial spirit and empowering women. Originality/value: MNCs operating in Bangladesh are gradually departing from philanthropy and moving toward strategic CSR by aligning business strategies with CSR. Transition from philanthropy to strategic CSR also reflects on MNCs’ CSR definitions, which include various dimensions such as social, stakeholders and sustainability, except philanthropy. In Bangladesh, where CSR was previously viewed as philanthropic activity, the findings make important contributions to the extant literature, particularly international CSR strategic literature, and can be useful for future research in other developing countries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)467-490
Number of pages24
JournalSustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 23 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Bangladesh
  • CSR managers
  • Multinational companies (MNCs)
  • Philanthropy
  • Stakeholders
  • Strategic CSR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • General Business,Management and Accounting

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