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Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) reflects a socio-political shift toward private self-regulation based on voluntarism and market-based pressures of enforcement. CSR initiatives have been linked to political demands for market liberalization and the absence of regulation, and legitimated increasingly in terms of a “business case” or positive-sum relationship between social responsibility and good business performance. The institutionalization of CSR as voluntary realm suggests several paradoxes observed in empirical evidence: between CSR as a complement or substitute of regulation, between responsible and irresponsible corporate actions, and between the diffusion and implementation of CSR. Empirical evidence suggests that CSR adoption is driven by substitution for formal regulation associated and business activities falling into regulatory voids. Moreover, its adoption is highly correlated with corporate irresponsibility. However, efforts to improve implementation through legal regulation or multi-stakeholder initiatives may threaten to undermine the business case that legitimated its initial adoption.
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Le Galès, States in Europe: uncaging societies and the limits to the infrastructural power, Socio-Economic Review, 2014, 131 ff.
This section draws on observations in Marens, Destroying the Village to Save It: Corporate Social Responsibility, Labour Relations, and the Rise and Fall of American Hegemony, Organization 2010, 743 ff. and Marens, Generous in Victory? American Managerial Autonomy, Labour Relations and the Invention of Corporate Social Responsibility, Socio-Economic Review 2012, 59 ff.
Abend, A Genealogy of Business Ethics, PhD Dissertation, Department of Sociology, Northwestern University, 2008.
Abend (fn. 3), 323 quoting Nation’s Business September 1924, 66.
Abend (fn. 3), 351 quoting “Business Can and Must Rule Itself.” Nation’s Business June 5, 1926, 19.
O’Sullivan/Lazonick, Maximising Shareholder Value: A New Ideology for Corporate Governance, Economy and Society 2000, 13 ff.
Brammer/Millington, The Evolution of Corporate Charitable Contributions in the UK between 1989 and 1999: Industry Structure and Stakeholder Influences, Business Ethics: A European Review, 2003, 216 ff.
Kinderman, ‘Free Us up So We Can Be Responsible!’ The Complementarities of CSR and Neo-Liberalism in the UK, 1977–2010, Socio-Economic Review 2012, 29 ff.
Deakin/Hobbs, False Dawn for CSR? Shifts in Regulatory Policy and the Response of the Corporate and Financial Sectors in Britain’, Corporate Governance 2007, 68–76 ff.
Parkinson, Corporate Power and Responsibility. Issues in the Theory of Company Law, 2003 and Parkinson, Models of the Company and the Employment Relationship, British Journal of Industrial Relations 2003, 481 ff.
Lohmeyer, The puzzling history of corporate social responsibility in Germany—Insights from a systematic historical discourse analysis, 29th Conference of European Group of Organizational Studies (EGOS) in Montréal, 2013.
Kinderman, Corporate Social Responsibility in the EU, 1993–2013: Institutional Ambiguity, Economic Crises, Business Legitimacy and Bureaucratic Politics, Journal of Common Market Studies 2013, 701 ff.
http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=COM:2006:0136:FIN:EN:HTML (accessed 9. November 2013).
Mitchell/Agle/Wood, Toward a Theory of Stakeholder Identification and Salience: Defining the Principle of Who and What Really Counts’, The Academy of Management Review 1997, 853 ff.
Vogel, The Market for Virtue, Brookings Institute, 2006.
Godfrey/Merrill/Hansen, The Relationship between Corporate Social Responsibility and Shareholder Value: An Empirical Test of the Risk Management Hypothesis, Strategic Management Journal 2009, 425 ff.
This section draws on Jackson/Apostolakou, Corporate Social Responsibility in Western Europe: An Institutional Mirror or Substitute? Journal of Business Ethics 2010, 371 ff.
On the role of evaluation in markets more generally, see Beckert/Musselin (eds.), Constructing Quality: The Classification of Goods in Markets, 2013.
Fransen, Multi-Stakeholder Governance and Voluntary Programme Interactions: Legitimation Politics in the Institutional Design of Corporate Social Responsibility’, Socio-Economic Review 2012, 163 ff.
Jackson/Brammer, in: Barnett/Pollack (eds.), Oxford Handbook on Corporate Reputation, 297 ff.
Jackson/Apostolakou, (fn. 17)
Rathert, How Host Country Institutions Influence Corporate Social Responsibility Adoption, Oxford University Centre for Corporate Reputation, Annual Symposium, 2013.
Dobbin/Kim/Kalev, You Can’t Always Get What You Need: Organizational Determinants of Diversity Programs’, American Sociological Review 2011, 386 ff.
Jackson/Ni/Gao, A Configurational Analysis of Corporate Social Responsibility and Corporate Social Irresponsibility among U.S. Listed Firms, unpublished working paper, date: 10. November 2013.
Partnoy, Infectious Greed: How Deceit and Risk Corrupted the Financial Markets, Times Books, 2003.
Jackson et al., Grey Areas: Irresponsible Corporations and Reputational Dynamics, Socio-Economic Review 2014, forthcoming.
Locke, The Promise and Limits of Private Power: Promoting Labor Standards in a Global Economy, 2013.
- A Socio-Political Perspective on Corporate Social Responsibility: Understanding Regulatory Substitution and the Persistence of Irresponsibility
Dr. Gregory Jackson
- Springer Berlin Heidelberg
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