The purpose of this study is to explore how a socially constructed concept has evolved into a globally diffused concept by focusing on cross-fertilizing impact of a national institutional frame and globalization. It employs the empirical example of the evolution of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in South Korea between 1910 and 2013 to investigate the role of the cognitive dimension of the national institution play in the local adoption of globally theorized ideas. More specifically, the study reveals distinct patterns in rhetorical CSR evolution from the social expectation from the wealthy towards the Anglo-American notion of explicit CSR by focusing on the cultural system of the Korean national business system--how people perceive and expect wealth and the role of the wealthy, corporations, and chaebols (the Korean business clans) in the history of the Korean business system towards the neo-liberal market transformation. Conceptually, this research aims at highlighting the dynamic view on the national business system approach, which had been regarded as a unique and static institutional frame, embedded into a given nation, and in particular relates the role of the cognitive dimension of the national business system to mechanisms and processes of institutional change. This study will contribute to a thriving line of research that examines issue interpretation and social accounts in order to study adoption and diffusion of organizational concepts and management practices.