Sub-theme 10: (SWG) Corporate Responsibility: Towards Inclusive Development?

Dirk Matten
Schulich School of Business, York University, Canada
Bobby Banerjee
Cass Business School, City University of London, UK
Vasanthi Srinivasan
Indian Institute of Management Bangalore, India

Call for Papers

The involvement of private business in so-called developing countries is a controversial topic. At one end of the spectrum there is little doubt that egregious breaches of human rights, environmental disasters, corporate corruption and other ethical malpractices that are commonplace in the developing world, involve local as well as multinational corporations. Corporate complicity in such malpractices has sparked considerable debates on CSR, business ethics, sustainability, etc. At the other end of the spectrum, six decades of governmental development efforts, both domestic and international have had little impact on income and development, to the extent that a growing number of voices have questioned the development model in these countries.

The sub-theme places a special emphasis on the transnational nature of institutional regulatory dynamics. Firms in collaboration with civil society actors and other players (e.g. United Nations agencies) have started to become pivotal actors in development. Firms' involvement in governance in developing countries has recently drawn attention to new forms of social entrepreneurship and social business initiatives as ways to use the forces of the market economy to promote socio-economic development.

Possible questions include, but are not limited to:

  • What are the normative or descriptive assumptions of the categorization of 'developed/developing' countries? How do these assumptions shape and inform the contemporary role of business in these countries?
  • What are the institutional dynamics of transnational state and non-state regulation in developing and emerging economies?
  • How can corporations and other state and non-state actors work together to promote socioeconomic development? What are the limitations of corporations being involved in development?
  • What is the role of corporations in development related challenges such as war, corruption, poverty and hunger? How does this affect the political role of firms?
  • In what ways do transnational NGO-based certification programs impact development?
  • How are public-private partnerships organized in developing and emerging economies? What problems occur in developing public-private partnerships and what are the outcomes?
  • What are the outcomes of initiatives such as social enterprise and microfinance? What are the limitations of such projects?
  • Which organizational structures or incentive systems support social innovations? How can responsible leadership contribute to social innovations? What role do organizational creativity and resources play in social innovations?
  • What are the governance challenges that arise as corporations play an increasing role in development?
  • What are the shifts in power dynamics and geopolitics between market, state and civil society actors resulting from corporate involvement in socio-economic development?
  • Does corporate involvement in socio-economic development create negative outcomes for local communities? If so, how do local communities resist the incursion of corporations into their lives?
  • How are local communities and indigenous communities encountering and/or resisting development initiatives framed as 'sustainable development'?
  • What alternative notions about economic, environmental and social sustainability emerge from local struggles?
  • If corporations in developing countries are providing basic entitlements for a welfare state, what are the implications if these services are now provided by self-interested and short-term oriented private corporations?
  • What are the ethical implications of the shift from public provision of civic entitlement to 'neo-feudal' private provision of 'social investment' by private business, for the providers and beneficiaries of such forms of CSR?
  • To what extent do CSR policies of multinational corporations or multilateral organisations contribute to neo-colonial practices and new forms of subjugation in developing countries?

We invite both theoretical and empirical contributions. Papers that cover multiple disciplines (management, including subfields such as organization studies, leadership studies, business ethics & CSR, international management; legal studies, political science, sociology, international relations, development studies, anthropology, etc.) are particularly welcome.


Dirk Matten holds the Hewlett-Packard Chair in Corporate Social Responsibility at the Schulich School of Business, York University, Toronto. He is interested in CSR, business ethics and international management. His work has appeared in many international journals such as 'Academy of Management Review', 'Journal of Management Studies', 'Organization Studies', 'The Geneva Papers' and 'Human Relations'.
Bobby Banerjee is Professor of Management and Director of Research at the School of Business, University of Western Sydney. His research interests are in the area of corporate social responsibility, environmental sustainability, postcolonialism, critical management studies and indigenous ecology. He has published widely in international ranked journals. Bobby is a Senior Editor at 'Organization Studies'.
Vasanthi Srinivasan is Associate Professor and the Chair of the Centre for Corporate Governance and Citizenship at the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore. Her research interests are in the area of business ethics education and CSR in small and medium enterprises. She has been a part of several research projects on CSR in South Asia.