Chinese State-Centric Csr Perspective: a Critical Study of the Impact on Ngos (Operating in Shanghai & Guangdong): an Multiple Method Approach. Essay

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Article - Asoke Kumar Mehera

Chinese State-centric CSR perspective: A Critical Study of the impact on NGOs (operating in Shanghai & Guangdong): An Multiple Method Approach.

Background and significance of the study: The principal focus of this research is to explore the Chinese state-centric attitude towards NGOs as part of the broader implementation of CSR strategies. This research is going to concentrate on the emergence of local corporatist state framework, which is paving a new way for the autonomy of the NGOs. Although, Chinese state‐centric model of CSR is contrary to the market‐based model (US) and relational model (EU); but non-monolithic nature of the present state is contributing towards local government influence and control. In this context, I am aiming to focus on NGOs in Shanghai & Guangdong province to indicate that local governments implement their own policy in the absence of higher-level guidance of central policy and the local states across all levels have a substantial interest and control in the work and operations of NGOs. It is essential to analyse the collaborative role of the local state at various levels – particularly at the municipal and district level – in pursuing the objectives and operational development of NGOs. A local corporatist state framework is therefore an appropriate mechanism to interpret the state’s actions, and the ensuing state-society engagements. Tacit sanctioning in the context of State-NGO relations is useful to understand how the local state has modified corporatist mechanisms vis-à-vis social responsibilities and the increasing activism of NGOs. Some analytical studies of the local state are therefore needed to provide a more detailed perspective on their interactions with societal actors and consequently, changes to policy outputs, at the local level. Yiyi Lu’s (2008) study, for instance, provides good grounds for arguing that the autonomy of the NGOs arise in part because of the limited capacity of central government to control NGOs, and in part because of the fragmented and non-monolithic nature of the state, which enables individual bureaucratic patrons to protect particular NGOs, especially officiallyorganised ones, from the full impact of state control. It is easy to notice a leading trend towards an "uncivil society", where rules do not exist or are ignored, and where organisations which are supposed to work for the public interest are being used to serve illegitimate private interests instead. Lu wants to relate NGO studies to such issues as state capacity, political culture, and the evolving state-society relations in China. Central economic development policies now directly support and motivate the proliferation of local government CSR programs. At the subnational level, local officials also have personal incentives to prioritize legal compliance and CSR goals for sustainable development. Local CSR guideline and audit programs are the centrepiece of many subnational governments’ CSR facilitation efforts and have been adopted by governments in three provinces and Shanghai. Migdal’s (2001) state-in-society approach (where local state is seeking to co-opt certain NGOs as a means of extending the institutional reach of the state within society) emphasizes alterations to the state, and subsequently impact on society. It is necessary to articulate the benefits of a local state corporatist framework because there is ‘strong evidence that social and economic interests are equally desirous of a state corporatism that accommodates their presence in politics.

Rationale My study will examine the discourse on localism and the growing shift from central to local state influence, which is paving a new way for State-NGO relations. This is needed because of the socio-economic changes (as experienced by NGOs) and political changes (transition in state-structure in regard to implementation of CSR) in leading areas of China (i.e. Shanghai & Guangdong province). The