Corporate Social Responsibility, Accountability and Governance: Global Perspectives

1st Edition

Istemi Demirag

Routledge
Published October 1, 2005
Reference - 378 Pages
ISBN 9781874719564 - CAT# Y367264

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Summary

The "business case" for corporate social responsibility, which suggests that socially and environmentally aware companies can expect to reap financial rewards, is seemingly gaining widespread acceptance within the business community. This is particularly apparent in the ever-increasing number of prominent companies parading their social, ethical and environmental credentials by producing paper- or web-based social and environmental, or sustainability, reports. In so doing, reporting companies claim, they are demonstrating a clear commitment to transparency and accountability to their key stakeholder groups. However, in the prevailing voluntaristic, business-case-centred climate within which such initiatives are taking place, little thought appears to have gone into the question of how stakeholders, other than the capital provider group, can actually use corporate disclosures offered in order to hold management accountable for the social and environmental consequences of their actions. While much corporate rhetoric abounds concerning notions of stakeholder dialogue and engagement, rigorous analysis of the governance implications of their claimed commitment to the principles of corporate social responsibility is largely conspicuous by its absence. 

Corporate Social Responsibility, Accountability and Governance seeks to explore this "missing link" between CSR (and associated reporting initiatives) and governance mechanisms that are capable of embracing true stakeholder accountability. A wide range of case studies, drawing on experiences of both public- and private-sector initiatives in Europe, the United States, Canada, South America and Asia, offer insightful analysis of the complex relationships between the state, the market and civil society in the development of CSR, accountability and sustainable development. 

 The book employs a multidisciplinary perspective in order to analyse the political, social, economic, technological, legal and organisational shaping of CSR. The complexities underpinning the concept are thereby clearly drawn out and the gross oversimplifications inherent in the prevailing consultancy-driven, business-case literature painfully exposed. Above all, the book offers a sound, practically and theoretically informed contribution to public policy debate and reflects and builds on urgent calls from public- and private-sector policy-makers as well as academics to develop better governance and accountability frameworks for business to deal with the imperatives of social responsibility, sustainable development and ethics. 

This book is divided into five parts. In Part 1, the complex concepts of responsibility, accountability and governance are discussed, and in particular the presumed relationships between the state, the market and civil society in improving accountability and governance are explored and critiqued. Part 2 consists of chapters relating to corporate social responsibility and stakeholder theory. Part 3 is concerned with empirical studies covering governance structures, networking and corporate social responsibility. Part 4 deals with corporate governance and its implications for regulators and civil society. Part 5 discusses multinational companies and how they impact on national governance regimes. Finally, a summary is provided with emerging international patterns of accountability and governance structures. 

Corporate Social Responsibility, Accountability and Governance will be essential reading for public and private policy-makers and practitioners and academics interested in how CSR can become more than a soundbite, and rather a substantial force for better global corporate governance and accountability.

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