Author(s): Arild Aspelund, Lise Fjell, Silje Erdal Rodland
Many prominent international entrepreneurs, from Dame Anita Roddick, founder of the Body Shop, to Mohammad Yunus, founder of the Grameen Foundation and winner of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, have built their international ventures around social responsible (SR) business ideas. Moreover, the popular business literature is brimming with examples of newly established international firms that draw considerable competitive advantages from strategies based on corporate social responsibility (CSR). Yet, in the same popular literature, we see that the multinational company remains the major scapegoats when it comes to the blame for global social and environmental problems. Even if this debate is ongoing in the popular literature, the academic literature is surprisingly absent. What exactly is the relationship between internationalization of firms and social responsibility? And what implications does it have for international entrepreneurs and research in the field of international entrepreneurship? This study seeks to address these questions by performing a comprehensive literature review on the internationalization social responsibility relationship in order to establish what research has concluded so far and suggest some promising venues for further research within the field of entrepreneurship. The study identifies five research topics that dominate the literature on internationalization and social responsibility. We present these five issues and suggest eight propositions that summarize our knowledge to date. Furthermore, we present three gaps in the literature that constitutes promising research venues for the social responsibility and business ethics research community.