This paper demonstrates the political perspective of corporate social responsibility (CSR) disclosures and, drawing on Weber’s notion of traditionalism, seeks to explain what motivates companies to make such disclosures in a traditional setting. Annual reports of 23 banking companies in Bangladesh are analysed over the period 2009–2012. This is supplemented by a review of documentary evidence on the political and social activities of corporations and reports published in national and international newspapers. We found that, in the banking companies over the period of study, apparently neutral, corporate, philanthropic activities disclosed and promoted in CSR reports are inextricably linked to powerful leaders’ personal projects and the ruling party’s agendas. We have demonstrated elements of traditional societies, including personal loyalty and the public display of loyalty, the master–servant relationship, and obedience to personal rather than formal authority, provide an understanding of why banks (with or without explicit political linkages with the ruling party) have employed politically charged CSR disclosure strategies. The paper contributes to disclosure studies where political motivations of corporate disclosure rarely discussed. The paper extends the debate on political CSR by demonstrating that the role of family and familial values at the organisational and national levels may be much more important when it comes to CSR disclosure and activities.
- Corporate social responsibility disclosures
- Traditional settings