SK-II is an exemplary case for demonstrating the power of institutional dynamics on foreign firm legitimacy even though the SK-II crises may, at first glance, appear to be a somewhat trivial case about the ugly side of beauty products (and the possible existence of toxic metals in skin care creams.) The case illustrates how Chinese institutions allow state agencies to actively resist “foreign” products by presenting test results in negative ways. It shows that institutions matter – a firm’s CSR legitimacy is actively shaped by institutional dynamics beyond its control and immediate sphere of reference.
RSM Case Development Centre

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Erasmus Research Institute of Management

Whiteman, G.M, Krug, B, & Yue, T. (2010). Beauty and the Beast: Proctor & Gamble's SK-II Incidents. RSM Case Development Centre. Retrieved from