The purpose of this research is to examine the regulative, normative and cultural-cognitive elements under the New Institutional theory that have an impact on the understanding of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and the development of social partnerships between peasant communities, mining companies and government in Peru. The literature review shows that New institutionalism theory is a suitable theoretical framework as it analyses these three elements of institutionalism that shape the logic of behaviour of Peruvian native and non-native people towards CSR, including: regulative, represented by law; normative, seen in value dimensions; and cultural-cognitive, seen in the symbols that represent reality.
This research contributes to the wider CSR literature in developing countries from the Andean region by capturing the native peoples’ voices. To this end, multiple qualitative methods including observations and semi-structured interviews have been utilised as they allow for a more in-depth, exploratory study. In total, 53 semi-structured interviews were carried out between August 2016 and September 2017 in Ancash and Lima regions. Moreover, indigenous methodology has been deployed to identify the ontological and epistemological stances of native people that involved participating in their traditions and seeking understanding of their oral stories.
The findings from this study regarding the regulative elements, indicate that, whilst in Peru there is no specific law that promotes social partnerships, the government has developed an ecosystem of law that promotes social partnerships. The Work for Taxes law is appointed as the most important legal tool that fosters early development of partnerships. Similarly, the Prior Consultation law permits a space for dialogue between comuneros and mining companies as a starting point of a partnership. However, there is the perception that it does not protect comuneros’ rights from Andean regions, but rather, only indigenous people from the Amazon. For this reason, comuneros have often resorted to protest, which they see as a legitimate way to change the law to protect their rights.
The findings regarding the normative elements of institutionalism suggest that egalitarianism is the most important value dimension for the development of partnerships as it offers the opportunity for collaboration between the parties and promotes the comuneros’ common welfare. Moreover, mining companies need to increase their efforts to develop trust by developing CSR initiatives that will benefit peasant communities. Meanwhile, comuneros demonstrate two levels of ambition to access CSR initiatives, a community-wide ambition, on which they are seeking for the best outcome for their own community; and group ambition, on which comuneros pursue economic group goals.
Finally, in respect of the cultural-cognitive elements, this study found that comuneros demand CSR to have both components: compulsory CSR on which its initiatives attend their urgent needs; and voluntary CSR aimed at developing their long-term capabilities. Moreover, partnerships have been changing from bilateral agreements between comuneros and mining companies, towards tripartite ones that include the participation of the government, which can provide the technical support in the development of CSR initiatives; meanwhile, third parties only occupy the role as an advisor in the execution of CSR initiatives.