Introduction: Mapping the Terrains
This chapter sets the tone by introducing the main theme, posing the research questions, and specifying the research design. The method of structured, focused comparison is employed as the main methodology: each case of Chinese oil companies operating in one particular host country will be systematically examined by the standard of the two general research questions. In explaining case outcomes, the influences of civil society organizations and host government regulations are emphasized. Essentially, the research follows an inductive logic of heuristic case studies aimed at identifying new causal mechanisms between exogenous factors in the context of host countries and CSR records of national oil companies (NOCs). The book expects to find that Chinese oil companies are socially committed when they operate in host countries where supportive government regulations and civil society oversight are mutually reinforcing.