Corporate political responsibility: The case of Royal Dutch Shell in Nigeria

Esther Hennchen, Josep Maria Lozano Soler

Research output: Conference paperContribution


Royal Dutch Shell has started to assume social and political responsibilities that go beyond legal requirements and fill the regulatory vacuum in global governance and a public responsibility gap in Nigeria. Which implications does this engagement have for the firm, governance and democracy? We explore along Scherer and Palazzo's (Scherer & Palazzo, 2011) new societal frame of reference the implications of Shell's politicized role in a context where a regulatory governance framework is missing at the local and the global level. By drawing on public sources and in-depth interviews we suggest that 'political CSR' - extended model of governance with business firms contributing to global regulation and providing public goods - is a reality for Shell at the local and global level. Our findings reveal a rather mixed picture, which questions the company's moral legitimacy, self-regulation, and deliberative approach and suggests a potential extension of Scherer and Palazzo's framework beyond a simple dichotomy. We contribute to the literature on global governance and corporate governance in Africa whilst creating an understanding of the political embeddedness of Shell's CSR agenda in the institutional framework and power relationships. The extent to which Shell's CSR agenda is limited by the reach of workable regulation (Rodrick, 2011) also invites to theorize on the role of the state in global governance in particular and market-based initiatives within the neo-liberal framework in general.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2011
Event1st Workshop on Business Ethics, Brussels 2011 -
Duration: 10 Nov 201111 Nov 2011


Conference1st Workshop on Business Ethics, Brussels 2011


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