At the core of corporate social responsibility (CSR) lie the commitments by corporations to conduct themselves ethically and to ensure sustainable economic progression. However, with the rise of globalisation, the composition of CSR within organisations is being shaped by multiple actors. The implication of this is the increasing transfer of governance responsibilities from governments to global multiple actors such as multinational corporations (MNCs), international-developmental organisations and global non-governmental organisations (NGOs). Thus the globalisation of businesses has had fundamental implications for the governance of CSR.
CSR governance – the framework for steering corporations to behave ethically in areas such as human rights, labour standards, environmental practices, anti-corruption activities, responsible investment, stakeholder engagement and responsible supply change management (Albareda, 2013) – has been investigated in academia from the perspective of self-regulation (or self-governance) (Gond et al., 2011; Moon and Vogel, 2008), relational governance (Midttun, 2005; Maessen et al., 2007) and new governance (Moon, 2002). To this effect, scholars have reviewed the contributions of actors such as governments (e.g. Fox et al., 2002); CSOs (e.g. Scholte, 2004) and global institutions (e.g. Baccaro & Mele, 2011) towards CSR strategy formulation, governance and implementation. Findings from this body of work significantly support the involvement of multiple actors within the broader global CSR governance discourse.
What is not quite clear, however, is the multi-faceted nature of ‘governance’ within CSR governance itself. For example, how do multiple-actors (i.e. corporations, governments, international NGOs, etc.) formulate, validate and implement voluntary CSR programmes? Or how does the interplay between actors generate platforms to create voluntary CSR programmes? In order to examine this aspect we posit several broad discussion points, aimed at providing more insights into our understanding of the internal governance dynamics of CSR governance, thereby advancing the conceptualisation of CSR as an institutionally embedded process, consisting of negotiated arrangements across global actors.
Through the contributions to this special issue, we ultimately aim to expand the boundaries of the emerging debate on CSR global governance.
Albareda, L. (2013) 'CSR governance innovation: standard competition-collaboration dynamic', Corporate Governance, Vol. 13, No. 5, pp. 551-568. Baccaro, L., and Mele, V. (2011) 'For lack of anything better? International organizations and global corporate codes', Public Administration, Vol. 89, No. 2, pp 451-470.
Fox, T., Ward, H., and Howard, B. (2002) 'Public sector roles in strengthening corporate social responsibility: A baseline study', Washington, DC: World Bank.
Gond, J.P., Kang, N. and Moon, J. (2011) 'The government of self-regulation: on the comparative dynamics of corporate social responsibility', Economy and Society, Vol. 40 No. 4 pp. 640-671. Maessen, R., Van Seters, P. and Van Rijckevorsel, E., (2007) 'Circles of stakeholders: towards a relational theory of Corporate Social Responsibility', International Journal of Business Governance and Ethics, Vol. 3 No. 1, pp.77-94.
Midttun, A. (2005) 'Realigning business, government and civil society', Corporate Governance, Vol. 5 No.3 pp. 159-174.
Moon, J. (2002) 'The Social Responsibility of Business and New Governance', Government and Opposition, Vol. 37, 385-408.
Moon, J. and Vogel, D. (2008) 'Corporate social responsibility, government and civil society', In: Crane, A., MC Williams, D., Matten, D., Moon, J. & Siegel, D. (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of corporate social responsibility. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Scholte, J. A. (2004) 'Civil society and democratically accountable global governance', Government and Opposition, Vol. 39 No. 2. pp. 211-233.
Suitable topics include, but are not limited to, the following:
- How does CSR governance work?
- What are the different modes of CSR governance? And what are the implications of governance modes to businesses CSR practices?
- What role do internal governance systems of organisations such as boards of directors and CSR committees play in the articulation of businesses' CSR programmes?
- How do government actors transfer governance policies to global CSR governance programmes?
- What contributions do global/local actors bring to businesses' global CSR programmes?
Full papers submission (online): 27 February, 2017