Sub-theme 02: [SWG] Contesting Hegemonies in Organizing Social Responsibilities

Arno Kourula
University of Amsterdam Business School, The Netherlands
Jeremy Moon
Copenhagen Business School, Denmark
Nolywé Delannon
Université Laval in Québec, Canada

Call for Papers

In this second sub‐theme of the EGOS Standing Work Group (SWG) on ‘Organizing Social Responsibilities in Contested Times’, we aim to explore the tensions between the global/universal and the local/contextualized elements of organizing social responsibilities (Matten & Moon, 2008; Whelan et al., 2013).
With some justification, multinational firms frequently look to universal standards such as ISO 26000 on Social Responsibility, the Equator Principles or the United Nations Global Compact to provide an apparently neutral, international benchmark of minimum social responsibility expectations among their business partners and suppliers (Bondy et al., 2008). This simplistic approach is fraught with limitations (Haack et al., 2012). It also belies the challenges in the formation of such standards, and the limited relevance of their application (Mueckenberger & Jastram, 2010). Despite assumptions that standards will result in similar practice, Brunsson, Rasche and Seidl (2012) characterize them as dynamic processes fraught with tensions (Vigneau et al., 2015; Gutierrez et al., 2016).
In this sub-theme, we focus on geographic context, seeking to better understand the interplay between the global and local in each case in terms of place and/or universal frameworks (see, for example, Gond et al, 2016). Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as a field of inquiry offers an excellent example of contextual tensions (Gond et al., 2011). In a field with pretensions to be globally relevant, CSR studies are actually woefully limited in scope (Pisani et al., 2017). Following the lead taken by editors of Business & Society who argue that while straightforward descriptions of CSR in any given country do not necessarily develop the field of study, theory developed from such work could and should (Crane et al., 2016).
For now, widely used concepts themselves represent particular Westernized (Kim & Moon, 2015) and gendered (Grosser et al., 2017) visions of management theory and practice which risk developing research along an ever narrower path (see Bamberger & Pratt, 2010; Chowdury et al., 2018; Martin, 2000; McCarthy & Muthuri, 2016). Here we seek to move beyond considering empirical context for data gathering in order to foster new theoretical conversations with the potential for contesting hegemonies in organizing for CSR (see Bair & Palpacuer, 2015; Delannon & Raufflet, 2017; Kourula & Delalieux, 2016).
Possible questions include, but are not limited to:

  • What is the impact of universal CSR standards on contexts other than Western firms, be they multinational corporations or other organizational forms? How are they incorporated, translated and/or resisted?

  • How can social responsibility be understood and organized in informal economies?

  • Under which conditions can theoretical perspectives be useful across contextual boundaries?

  • Which theoretical contributions from non‐Western contexts, including outside the field of organization studies, can enhance or challenge theories developed in the West?

  • How are organizational responsibilities related to the same issues organized similarly or differently in different contexts?



  • Bair, J., & Palpacuer, F. (2015): “CSR beyond the corporation: Contested governance in global value chains.” Global Networks, 15 (1), S1–S19.
  • Bamberger, P.A., & Pratt, M.G. (2010): “Moving forward by looking back: Reclaiming unconventional research contexts and samples in organizational scholarship.” Academy of Management Journal, 53 (4), 665–671.
  • Bondy, K., Matten, D., & Moon, J. (2008): “MNC codes of conduct: Governance tools for CSR?” Corporate Governance: An International Review, 16 (4), 294–311.
  • Brunsson, N., Rasche, A., & Seidl, D. (2012): „The dynamics of standardization: Three perspectives on standards in organization studies.” Organization Studies, 33 (5‐6), 613–632.
  • Chowdury, R., Kourula, A., & Siltaoja, M. (2018): “Power of Paradox: Grassroots Organizations’ Legitimacy Strategies Over Time.” Business & Society, first published on December 17,
  • Crane, A., Henriques, I., Husted, B., & Matten, D. (2016): “Publishing country studies in Business & Society: Or, do we care about CSR in Mongolia?” Business & Society, 55 (1), 3–10.
  • Delannon, N., & Raufflet, E. (2017): Creolization as resistance to PCSR: The contested field of the past at the Guiana Space Center.” Academy of Management Proceedings, Vol. 2017 (1), 16553.
  • Gond, J.‐P., Barin Cruz, L., Raufflet, E., & Charron, M. (2016): “To frack or not to frack? The interaction of justification and power in a sustainability controversy.” Journal of Management Studies, 53 (3), 330–363.
  • Gond, J.‐P., Kang, N., & Moon, J. (2011): “The government of self‐regulation: On the comparative dynamics of corporate social responsibility.” Economy and Society, 40 (4), 640–671.
  • Grosser, K., Moon, J., & Nelson, J. (2017): “Gender, business ethics, and corporate social responsibility: Assessing and refocusing a conversation.” Business Ethics Quarterly, 24 (4), 541–567.
  • Gutierrez Huerter O, G., Gold, S., Chapple, W., & Moon, J. (2016): “Transfer of Social and Environmental Accounting and Reporting Knowledge: Subsidiary Absorptive Capacity and Organisational Mechanisms.” In: T.C. Ambos, B. Ambos & J. Birkinshaw (eds.): Perspectives on Headquarters-subsidiary Relationships in the Contemporary MNC. Research in Global Strategic Management, Vol. 17. Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 299–328.
  • Haack, P., Schoeneborn, D., & Wickert, C. (2012): “Talking the talk, moral entrapment, creeping commitment? Exploring narrative dynamics in corporate responsibility standardization.” Organization Studies, 33 (5‐6), 815–845.
  • Kim, R.H., & Moon, J. (2015): “Dynamics of corporate social responsibility in Asia: Knowledge and norms.” Asian Business & Management, 14 (5), 349–382.
  • Kourula, A., & Delalieux, G. (2016): “The micro‐level foundations and dynamics of political corporate social responsibility: Hegemony and passive revolution through civil society.” Journal of Business Ethics, 135 (4), 769–785.
  • Martin, J. (2000): “Hidden gendered assumptions in mainstream organizational theory and research.” Journal of Management Inquiry, 9 (2), 207–216.
  • McCarthy, L., & Muthuri, J.N. (2018): “Engaging fringe stakeholders in business and society research: Applying visual participatory research methods.” Business & Society, 57 (1), 131–173.
  • Mueckenberger, U., & Jastram, S. (2010): “Transnational norm‐building networks and the legitimacy of corporate social responsibility standards.” Journal of Business Ethics, 97 (2), 223–239.
  • Pisani, N., Kourula, A., Kolk, A., & Meijer, R. (2017): “How global is international CSR research? Insights and recommendations from a systematic review.” Journal of World Business, 52 (5), 591–614.
  • Vigneau, L., Humphreys, M., & Moon, J. (2015): “How do firms comply with international sustainability standards? Processes and consequences of adopting the Global Reporting Initiative.” Journal Business Ethics, 131 (3), 469–486.
  • Whelan, G., Moon, J., & Orlitzky, M. (2009): “Embedded liberalism, human rights, and transnational corporations: An emergent consensus?” Journal of Business Ethics, 88 (2), 367–383.
Arno Kourula is an Associate Professor of Strategy at the University of Amsterdam Business School, The Netherlands, and a docent at Aalto University, Finland. His research emphasis is corporate sustainability through cross‐sector interactions. Arno has published several book chapters as well as articles in leading journals in management, business ethics, international business, political science, and environmental studies.
Jeremy Moon is Velux Professor of Corporate Sustainability at the Copenhagen Business School, Denmark. He was founding Director of the International Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility, University of Nottingham, United Kingdom. Jeremy has written widely about CSR, particularly its political manifestations and implications. His paper “’Implicit’ and ‘Explicit’ CSR” (with Dirk Matten) won the Academy of Management Review Paper of the Decade, 2018). He is author (with Jette Steen Knudsen) of “Visible Hands Government Regulation and International Business Responsibility” (Cambridge University Press, 2017).
Nolywé Delannon is an Assistant Professor in Management and a founding member of the Interdisciplinary laboratory on corporate social responsibility at Université Laval in Québec, Canada. Her research focuses on business–government–civil society relations from a CSR perspective, with a particular interest for global/local dynamics and the political role of business. She has published book chapters and articles in both French and English, and her latest work brings in a Creolized perspective to CSR.