Sub-theme 10: (SWG) Corporate Responsibility and Irresponsibility
Call for Papers
The 2016 sub-theme of the Standing Working Group 10 on "The Changing Role of Business in Global Society" focuses
on the causes and effects of corporate irresponsibility. The key research aim is to better understand what constitutes corporate
irresponsibility, to explore how it is facilitated or impeded by institutional, organizational or individual factors, and
to analyze the results of irresponsible behaviour. We want to look at the supply and demand side of irresponsible behaviour
and touch upon a variety of economic, political, social, and environmental issues in this regard.
The debate on CSR seems to increasingly concentrate on what is perceived as irresponsible business practices: human rights violations, corruption, environmental scandals or incidents of complicity with criminal individuals or illegal organizations, to name but a few. It has become apparent that corporate irresponsibility is not only a matter of corporations that operate in ‘dirty industries’ in failed or failing states (such as, e.g., extracting or mining companies in third world countries). It is also prevalent in high tech (e.g. weapons or security firms that cooperate with oppressive regimes or criminal organizations), ICT (e.g., internet firms that violate privacy rights and cooperate with national intelligence agencies) or service industries (e.g., banks that are involved in money laundering or tax avoidance practices). Furthermore, the growing influence of organized crime raises questions about the distorting influence of illegal business activities on legal markets; organized crime controls significant parts of numerous markets, from construction to waste processing and finance.
Our sub-theme is thus interested in contributions along a broad spectrum of critical issues and levels of analysis related to corporate (ir)responsibility. We want to discuss the causes, consequences, and organizational implications of corporate irresponsibility on the macro (business-society relationships; institutional environment) as well as the meso (irresponsible business practices; irresponsible organizations) and micro levels of analysis (irresponsible individual behaviour).
Possible questions include, but are not limited to:
- What constitutes corporate irresponsibility?
- What is the relationship between corporate responsibility (CSR) and irresponsibility?
- What are the processes by which irresponsibility is ascribed to individuals or organizations?
- What are the causes of corporate irresponsibility? What role do institutional pressures play (e.g. legal sanctions, capital markets)?
- How can we understand the interplay between individual, organizational, and institutional levels with regards to corporate irresponsibility ("bad apple" vs. "bad barrel" perspective)?
- What industries, countries, or regions are particularly prone to corporate irresponsibility and why?
- What are the strategies of individuals or corporations to conceal, defend or legitimize irresponsible behaviour?
- How do the interfaces between legal and illegal organizations and their activities look like?
- What can be learnt from the analysis of organized crime for the understanding of corporate irresponsibility?
- Banerjee, S.B. (2007): "Corporate Social Responsibility: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly." Critical Sociology, 34 (1), 51–79.
- Gond, J-P., Palazzo, G., & Basu, K. (2009): " Reconsidering Instrumental Corporate Social Responsibility through the Mafia Metaphor." Business Ethics Quarterly, 19 (1), 57–85.
- Lange, D., & Washburn, N.T. (2012): " Understanding Attributions of Corporate Social Irresponsibility." Academy of Management Review, 37 (2), 300–326.
- Roberts, J. (2003): "The manufacture of corporate social responsibility. Constructing corporate sensibility." Organization, 10 (2), 249–265.
- Scherer, A.G., & Palazzo, G. (2011): "The New Political Role of Business in a Globalized World: A Review of a New Perspective on CSR and its Implications for the Firm, Governance, and Democracy." Journal of Management Studies, 48 (4), 899–931.
- Vallentin, S. (2015): "Instrumental and Political Currents in the CSR Debate: On the Demise and (Possible) Resurgence of 'Ethics'." In: A. Pullen & C. Rhodes (eds.): The Routledge Companion to Ethics, Politics and Organizations. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 13–31.