Dr Shuna Shu Ham Ho, Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia, Canada
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) and corporate political activity (CPA) are nonmarket strategies that help a multinational corporation (MNC) to legitimise socio-politically. Regarding social license (SL) and legal license (LL) as social and political legitimacies, this study responds to a call for research by examining the complementarity, or tension, between CSR and CPA for achieving these strategic outcomes in a developed country with relatively strong institutions. Based on social contract and deliberative democracy theories, this study hypothesises that high CSR and low CPA are necessary for attaining SL, but low CSR and high CPA are sufficient for obtaining LL. Using necessary condition analysis (NCA), this study finds empirical support with a sample of MNCs mining at various sites within Australia, which is a deliberatively democratic country. Findings suggest that MNCs striking a balance between social and political legitimisations under deliberative democracy must maximise CSR, and meanwhile, optimise CPA owing to tension.