CSR and the Development of CSR Reporting in the Chinese Banking Sector

  • Ling Wang

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    This study introduces corporate social responsibility (CSR) with the background of the Chinese context first, and then analyses the development of CSR reporting in the Chinese banking sector during the period from 2005 to 2009.

    There are four theoretical perspectives which have been considered in relation to CSR, which are stakeholder theory, legitimacy theory, institutional theory and political economy theory; and in this order, these four theories could be viewed as progressively taking a widening field of resolution from the organization to the broader societal context in which it operates. It will be argued that these four theories are complementary rather than mutually exclusive and that each of them can be useful in analysing and helping to make sense of the phenomenon of CSR in the Chinese banking sector.

    This study examines the development and implementation of CSR in the Chinese banking industry through analyzing published CSR reports and carrying out interviews with knowledgeable individuals. In total, 55 CSR reports which were published by 19 banks from 2005 to 2009 inclusive, in addition to a description of relevant guidelines, especially the GRI disclosure index are analyzed. Moreover, 19 interviews were carried out with a range of informed parties during four visits to China between July 2009 and March 2013, in order to obtain information and insights about banks’ current CSR understanding and developments, cultural influence, and future CSR strategy. There are some consistencies from the findings of interviews and content analysis; but on other hand some of the findings also show a contradiction between employees’ incentives and the perspectives given by the bank’s CSR report.

    This study makes a contribution by giving indications of typical disclosure in the first 5 years of Chinese banks’ CSR reports, and has summarised the guidelines that the banks adopted, and has given an overview of the regulatory framework in which the Chinese banks started to report. The author has managed to undertake interviews, and to obtain insights and fairly frank statements from a range of people. Moreover, the author considers and presents the research findings in the context of a range of theoretical perspectives, and explores the different theoretical perspectives and their insights as they affect China. Finally, this research identifies the difference between some of the internal perspectives of some employees and the public image of banks given by their CSR reports.
    Date of Award2014
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorDavid Collison (Supervisor) & Lorna Stevenson (Supervisor)

    Cite this