Argentina: a dependency mentality

Argentina: a dependency mentality

CSR in Argentina: can companies help achieve development goals?

This paper from Argentina discusses the evolution of CSR in the country in light of a recent paper by Michael Blowfield and George Frynas paper entitled ‘Setting new agendas: critical perspectives on Corporate Social Responsibility in the developing world’. It argues that the current approach to CSR in Argentina is marked by a ‘dependency mentality’ and that there is a need for CSR strategies oriented towards the achievement of development goals.

The economic, social and political crisis of 2001 is described as a turning point for CSR in Argentina. Following the crisis, corporations began to play an important social role, which included donations of money, goods and resources and the setting up of Foundations to aid health, education and social welfare. In doing so, they often replaced the social role of the state and over time, their activities became more methodological.

However, the author argues that a lack of government involvement has made it difficult to develop a CSR agenda in line with development objectives. Another problem is that small and medium size enterprises (SMEs), which employ over 70% of the population, perceive CSR as something only large companies should engage in. Crucially, she argues that all companies share a “dependency mentality”, to CSR, which focuses on temporary assistance rather than long term development goals.

The paper concludes that companies should be encouraged to establish CSR strategies that lead towards development, improvement and growth. It argues that this could best be achieved through a “base of the pyramid” approach.