Collaborative corporate social responsibility praxis: case studies from India

Meena Chavan, Sunaina Gowan*, Joanna Vogeley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: This study aims to explore how corporate social responsibility (CSR) has assumed a new meaning today, with the COVID-19 pandemic. This, in turn, has changed the way companies now view the impact of their activities on the environment, customers, employees, community and other stakeholders.

Design/methodology/approach: This paper uses a qualitative case study approach and draws a critical lens to document the complex interplay between dimensions of CSR, business sustainability and social issues, applying theoretical tools such as social capital theory and stakeholder theory to elucidate the nature of collaborative managerial responses to the organisation’s challenges during the pandemic. This is a case study paper. This paper applies multi method approach to develop a case study analysis through participant observation and report analysis to investigate the CSR approaches undertaken in India by Infosys Genesis, a global leader in technology services and consulting, and Akshaya Patra Foundation, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), which operates the world’s largest lunch school program. This was an appropriate methodology since the focus was on an area that was little understood, while the analysis required an in-depth understanding of a complex phenomenon through observation and a case study. In addition, case study research has been recommended for how, why and what type of research questions that focus on contemporary events (Saunders et al., 2003; Yin, 1994), such as CSR participation in the existing business environment. Furthermore, the issue under investigation is a real-life situation where the limitations between the phenomenon and the body of knowledge are unclear (Yin, 1994). This was the case because CSR has been probed by numerous disciplines through the application of various theoretical frameworks, each interpreting the context from their own perspective. Leximancer was used for the analysis (a text-mining software for visualising the structure of concepts and themes across case studies). This process differs from the traditional content analysis in that specific word strings are not needed; instead, Leximancer recognises what concepts are present in a set of texts, permitting concepts to be automatically coded in a grounded fashion (Cretchley et al., 2010, p. 2). The paper will be looked at from three levels comprising themes, concepts and concept profiling to create rich and reliable dimensions of a theoretical model (Myers, 2008). The themes are created in Leximancer software and are built on an algorithm that looks for hidden repeated patterns in interactions. The concepts add a layer and discover which concepts are shared by actors. The concept profiling allows to discover additional concepts and allows to do a discriminant analysis on prior concepts (Cretchley et al., 2010). Words that come up frequently are treated as concepts. Although the limited number of cases does not represent the entire sector, it enabled collection of rich data through quotes revealing some of the most crucial aspects of large organisations and non-profits in India.

Findings: The findings demonstrate how these robust, innovative, collaborative CSR initiatives between a multinational firm and an NGO have been leveraged to combat manifold issues of education, employment and hunger during the pandemic.

Research limitations/implications: Despite significant implications, this study has limitations. A response from only two companies is investigated to the COVID-19 pandemic. The scope of this study is only India, a developing nation, thereby, cross country research is recommended. A comparative study between developed and developing countries may be conducted. A quantitative approach may be used to get empirical findings of the COVID-19 pandemic and post-pandemic policies of companies from an international perspective. Hence, there is ample opportunity to research organisations’ response to the pandemic and CSR as a strong arm to deal with critical disasters.

Practical implications: The paper offers new insights into exploring research and praxis agenda for collaborative potentials towards the evolution of CSR and sustainability. Social implications: The findings develop new initiatives and combat manifold issues of education, employment and hunger during the pandemic to provide quick relief.

Originality/value: The paper offers new insights into how companies are considering issues related to the crisis, including avoidance of layoffs and maintaining wage payments, and may be in a better position to access fresh capital, relief programs and emergency funds. Taking proactive health and safety measures may avert legal risks to the company. It is likely that the way in which companies are responding to the crises is a real-life test on resilience and adaptation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-248
Number of pages20
JournalSocial Responsibility Journal
Issue number2
Early online dateMar 2022
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jan 2023


  • Business sustainability
  • Collaborative CSR
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Indian MNCs and NGOs
  • Pandemic
  • Qualitative case study


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