This talk examines how local organizations respond to the global norm of corporate social responsibility, focusing on the case of workplace gender diversity in Japan.
While many global institutional investors have declared their commitment to the principles of corporate social responsibility (CSR), whether and how their investment actually improves local practices has yet to be examined. Prof. Mun’s research argues that changes implemented by local firms in response to pressure from global institutional investors are shaped by political dynamics among local professionals. CSR managers pushed for gender diversity only in the upper ranks of their organizations. This helped the managers limit resistance from human-resources (HR) managers, who wanted to maintain the traditional employment system, while still gaining support from investor-relations (IR) managers, who supported changes visible to investors. Findings from panel data analysis further document this change above the glass ceiling. Data from 800 Japanese firms between 2001 and 2009 show that both foreign investment and within-firm influence of CSR and IR managers significantly increased the number of women on boards and in managerial positions, yet without improving the lot of those in non-managerial or entry-level positions. This study contributes to the research on diffusion and organizational change by illuminating inter-professional politics in the local implementation of global norms.