Corporate Social Responsibility and Labour Standards: Bridging Business Management and Employment Relations Perspectives

AuthorVirginia Doellgast,Lucio Baccaro,Gregory Jackson
DOIhttp://doi.org/10.1111/bjir.12298
Publication Date01 March 2018
British Journal of Industrial Relations doi: 10.1111/bjir.12298
56:1 March 2018 0007–1080 pp. 3–13
Corporate Social Responsibility and
Labour Standards: Bridging Business
Management and Employment
Relations Perspectives
Gregory Jackson, Virginia Doellgast
and Lucio Baccaro
1. Introduction
The special symposium of the British Journal of Industrial Relations (BJIR)
is dedicated to corporate social responsibility (CSR) and labour standards.
CSR can be defined as corporate actions oriented towards the welfare
of stakeholders and driven by instrumental, relational or ethical concerns
(Aguilera et al. 2007). Viewed as a relational concept, the study of CSR
is concerned with both the claims about responsibility that corporations
make about themselves, as well as the demands articulated by stakeholders
in relation to social, environmental and other responsibilities. Thus, we
advocate an empirical approach to CSR that treats questions of responsibility
as political ones, negotiated among business, stakeholders and the wider
society. Such a definition also encompasses corporate irresponsibility, since
stakeholders may view the actions of a corporation as unethical and thus the
issue of CSR as a contested terrain (Okoye 2009).
CSR has sparked substantial controversy. Many business management
scholars have embraced CSR as a more human approach to capitalism that
takes on board the notion that social legitimacy is a central prerequisite for
profitability and thatenvironmental sustainability is critical for the long-term
economic development. Meanwhile, a minority of scholars across dierent
social sciences remain more critical. CSR may be seen as a tool of symbolic
management or even an active form of corporate ‘greenwashing’ aimed to
distract stakeholders from unsustainable or unethical activities (e.g. Marquis
Gregory Jacksonis at Freie Universit¨
at Berlin. VirginiaDoellgast is at the ILR School of Cornell
University.Lucio Baccaro at University of Geneva and Director of the Max-Planck-Institute for
the Study of Societies in Cologne.
C
2018 John Wiley& Sons Ltd.

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