Title
Corporate Social responsibility (CSR): When worlds collide: contested paradigms of corporate responsibility
Description
To cite this output: Palmer, PW, (2012) Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR): When Worlds Collide: Contested Paradigms of Corporate Responsibility ESRC Impact Report, RES-451-26-0641. Swindon: ESRC
Language
English
Author
Paul Palmer
Co-author
Kathryn Haynes
Co-author
Alan Murray
Co-author
Martin Bingham
Co-author
Robert Melville
Co-author
Richard Spencer
Summary of scientific impacts
The seminar series had two main aims: The primary aim of the series which was intended to cut through the rhetoric of CSR and deliver positions of clarity from which future debates can emanate; and a secondary aim of the seminar series was to provide an appropriate forum through which to connect the various research, industry, policy and professional groupings whereby the efforts of each group may impact on the other and inform future work. A key objective was to establish CSR as a distinct research area within Business and Management with a coherent research agenda emerging from an identified conceptual framework. The seminar series succeeded in informing theoretical and practice related conceptualisation of CSR as distinctly accountability related, and developed a more advanced theoretical understanding of the field. The domain of CSR and the relationships between business and society were widely debated in the first seminar, which informed further seminars. Each seminar was at the cutting edge of recent developments in the field, including on taxation and social justice; sustainability and climate change; corporate philanthropy; human rights; and accountability. Presentations and debates with practitioners and policymakers enabled the application of social science analysis to the factors which explain the gap between academic research findings and corporate activity in the field of CSR in the UK and abroad.
Findings and Outputs
A research handbook based on several papers from the series is forthcoming (2011): Dillard, J. Haynes, K. & Murray, A. (eds.) “Corporate Social Responsibility: A Research Handbook”, Routledge. This book addresses the agenda of conceptualising CSR across the themes of accountability, social justice, sustainability, philanthropy and civil society and includes chapters by the CIs: e.g. Deciphering the Domain of CSR, Dillard, J. & Murray. A. The following papers have been published by co-investigators: 1. Murray, A. Haynes, K. & Hudson, L.J. (2010) “Collaborating to achieve Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability?: Possibilities and Problems”, Sustainability, Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, Vol. 1: 2, pp. 161 – 177. (Elsevier Highly Commended award winner). (Note this paper was a collaboration between CIs Haynes and Murray and an ex senior civil servant, bridging academia and public policy). 2. Seitanidi, M.M., Koufopoulos, D. and Palmer, P. (2010) “Partnership Formation for Change: Indicators for Transformative Potential in Cross Sector Social Partnership”, Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 94, Supplement 1: 139-161. A number of other papers presented at the seminar series have been published or are forthcoming: 1. Prem Sikka, (2010), “Smoke and Mirrors: Corporate Social Responsibility and Tax Avoidance”, Accounting Forum, Vol. 34, No. 3-4, pp. 153-168. 2. Frankental, P. "No accounting for human rights", Critical Perspectives on Accounting, In Press.
How these impacts were achieved
The programme of seminars was as follows: 1. Deciphering the Domain of CSR – British Library – 15 December 2008 2. Corporate Taxation Practice as a CSR Issue – University of York – 25 March 2009 3. How in a world of Depleting resources can we ensure equity between Business and Society? – Cass Business School – 17 June 2009 4. The Place of Human Rights in Business – St Andrews University – 1 September 2009 5. Corporate Philanthropy in an Age of CSR – ICAEW – 25 March 2010 6. CSR, Sustainability, Governance and Civil Society – where Next? – Aston Business School – 1 July 2010. • The intention of the series was always to be challenging, but not confrontational. This was ensured by two key speakers with opposing perspectives followed by practitioners, discussants and a panel; • Participation was lively but effectively managed by a protocol that participants could agree to disagree. • The series was audio recorded and placed on the hosting institution’s website. In addition, because of the participation of the British Library the primary dissemination medium was the British Library website and an accompanying dedicated bibliography;
Who these findings impact
The seminars facilitated cross-fertilisation and connections between and among researchers within several academic groupings: 1. The series was supported by the British Academy of Management CSR special interest group, which strengthened considerably in size and academic endeavour throughout the seminar series with CI Murray as Chair. 2. The PI, CIs, members of the BAM CSR SIG and delegates attending the seminars built up new or enhanced connections with the Centre for Social and Environmental Accounting Research (CSEAR) following the seminar hosted by them at St. Andrews University. 3. The series funding enabled closer international links with the Center for Sustainability and Accountability at Portland State University, USA, enabling the participation of its Director, Professor Jesse Dillard, who is subsequently co-editing the book of papers from the seminar series with CIs Haynes and Murray. 4. The BAM CSR SIG funded two CSR teaching workshops subsequent to two of the seminars, which enabled seminar delegates to remain to discuss embedding the research ideas into the curriculum, in conjunction with the UN’s Principles of Responsible Management Education initiative (PRME). Students and staff within business schools will ultimately benefit. 5. The British Library, which hosted one of the seminars, had support from the CIs in developing their bibliography on CSR, benefitting researchers widely. 6. As one CI (Spencer) is from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), enhanced relations with the ICAEW, between research and professional practice, followed. Palmer, Haynes and Murray now act as advisors, committee members or reviewers for the ICAEW.
Summary of economic impacts
The seminar series had two main aims: The primary aim of the series which was intended to cut through the rhetoric of CSR and deliver positions of clarity from which future debates can emanate; and a secondary aim of the seminar series was to provide an appropriate forum through which to connect the various research, industry, policy and professional groupings whereby the efforts of each group may impact on the other and inform future work. A key objective was to establish CSR as a distinct research area within Business and Management with a coherent research agenda emerging from an identified conceptual framework. The seminar series succeeded in informing theoretical and practice related conceptualisation of CSR as distinctly accountability related, and developed a more advanced theoretical understanding of the field. The domain of CSR and the relationships between business and society were widely debated in the first seminar, which informed further seminars. Each seminar was at the cutting edge of recent developments in the field, including on taxation and social justice; sustainability and climate change; corporate philanthropy; human rights; and accountability. Presentations and debates with practitioners and policymakers enabled the application of social science analysis to the factors which explain the gap between academic research findings and corporate activity in the field of CSR in the UK and abroad.
Findings and Outputs
A research handbook based on several papers from the series is forthcoming (2011): Dillard, J. Haynes, K. & Murray, A. (eds.) “Corporate Social Responsibility: A Research Handbook”, Routledge. This book addresses the agenda of conceptualising CSR across the themes of accountability, social justice, sustainability, philanthropy and civil society and includes chapters by the CIs: e.g. Deciphering the Domain of CSR, Dillard, J. & Murray. A. The following papers have been published by co-investigators: 1. Murray, A. Haynes, K. & Hudson, L.J. (2010) “Collaborating to achieve Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability?: Possibilities and Problems”, Sustainability, Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, Vol. 1: 2, pp. 161 – 177. (Elsevier Highly Commended award winner). (Note this paper was a collaboration between CIs Haynes and Murray and an ex senior civil servant, bridging academia and public policy). 2. Seitanidi, M.M., Koufopoulos, D. and Palmer, P. (2010) “Partnership Formation for Change: Indicators for Transformative Potential in Cross Sector Social Partnership”, Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 94, Supplement 1: 139-161. A number of other papers presented at the seminar series have been published or are forthcoming: 1. Prem Sikka, (2010), “Smoke and Mirrors: Corporate Social Responsibility and Tax Avoidance”, Accounting Forum, Vol. 34, No. 3-4, pp. 153-168. 2. Frankental, P. "No accounting for human rights", Critical Perspectives on Accounting, In Press.
How these impacts were achieved
The programme of seminars was as follows: 1. Deciphering the Domain of CSR – British Library – 15 December 2008 2. Corporate Taxation Practice as a CSR Issue – University of York – 25 March 2009 3. How in a world of Depleting resources can we ensure equity between Business and Society? – Cass Business School – 17 June 2009 4. The Place of Human Rights in Business – St Andrews University – 1 September 2009 5. Corporate Philanthropy in an Age of CSR – ICAEW – 25 March 2010 6. CSR, Sustainability, Governance and Civil Society – where Next? – Aston Business School – 1 July 2010. • The intention of the series was always to be challenging, but not confrontational. This was ensured by two key speakers with opposing perspectives followed by practitioners, discussants and a panel; • Participation was lively but effectively managed by a protocol that participants could agree to disagree. • The series was audio recorded and placed on the hosting institution’s website. In addition, because of the participation of the British Library the primary dissemination medium was the British Library website and an accompanying dedicated bibliography;
Who these findings impact
The seminars facilitated cross-fertilisation and connections between and among researchers within several academic groupings: 1. The series was supported by the British Academy of Management CSR special interest group, which strengthened considerably in size and academic endeavour throughout the seminar series with CI Murray as Chair. 2. The PI, CIs, members of the BAM CSR SIG and delegates attending the seminars built up new or enhanced connections with the Centre for Social and Environmental Accounting Research (CSEAR) following the seminar hosted by them at St. Andrews University. 3. The series funding enabled closer international links with the Center for Sustainability and Accountability at Portland State University, USA, enabling the participation of its Director, Professor Jesse Dillard, who is subsequently co-editing the book of papers from the seminar series with CIs Haynes and Murray. 4. The BAM CSR SIG funded two CSR teaching workshops subsequent to two of the seminars, which enabled seminar delegates to remain to discuss embedding the research ideas into the curriculum, in conjunction with the UN’s Principles of Responsible Management Education initiative (PRME). Students and staff within business schools will ultimately benefit. 5. The British Library, which hosted one of the seminars, had support from the CIs in developing their bibliography on CSR, benefitting researchers widely. 6. As one CI (Spencer) is from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), enhanced relations with the ICAEW, between research and professional practice, followed. Palmer, Haynes and Murray now act as advisors, committee members or reviewers for the ICAEW.
Potential future impacts
In late October 2011 the current Lord Mayor will host a conference which will both report on the Initiative and outline next steps and recommendations. At this conference two research projects undertaken by the Cass Business School will be presented: • The first on the codes of ethics for professions, companies and regulators operating in the City will be presented. The primary purpose of this form of textual inquiry were (1) to identify differences in content and the nature of guidance; (2) to offer a synthesis of good practice; and (3) to inform the development of overarching meta-principles. The analysis has used a range of techniques (word clouds, Sammon mapping, and content analysis using Atlas.ti. Tentative inferences being drawn from the work are that brevity in conduct code content is helpful and that there is a need to focus on altitudinal change rather than just behavioural compliance. • The second research project will report on the first ever survey of the 14,000 business city voters. The survey which is live from the 18 August to 9th September has four sections with 45 closed questions, respondents indicating levels of agreement to written statements on a 1-10 scale: Section one – trust in your organisation Section two – company codes of practice Section three – ethical conflicts and challenges Section four – other enablers for encouraging an ethical culture in the City. Further collaborative work planned with the ICAEW is likely to lead to future impacts on sustainable practice in business.
Unexpected impacts
As explained in our introduction the investigators began the series prior to the economic events of late 2008. The subsequent crisis and the focus on ethics gave the seminar series an unexpected focus and interest in its deliberations. Through the seminar series the Principal Investigator was able to subsequently influence and make representation which lead to the Lord Mayor setting up his initiative. The investigators themselves also found changes in their respective careers. Paul Palmer was appointed as an Associate Dean with the brief of Ethics, Sustainability and Engagement and now manages the Cass Business School ethics change programme as well as the Lord Mayors Initiative. Dr Alan Murray was promoted to Senior Teaching Fellow at Leeds University in August 2010. Dr Kathryn Haynes was promoted to Reader in Accounting at Aston Business School in April 2010 and subsequently Northern Society Chair in Accounting at Newcastle University from September 2011. Dr Robert Melville was promoted to Professor of Internal Auditing at Cass Business School in October 2009
Harvard
Palmer, Paul et al. Corporate Social responsibility (CSR): When worlds collide: contested paradigms of corporate responsibility.: ESRC Impact Report, RES-451-26-0641. Swindon: ESRC
Vancouver
Palmer Paul et al. Corporate Social responsibility (CSR): When worlds collide: contested paradigms of corporate responsibility.: ESRC Impact Report, RES-451-26-0641. Swindon: ESRC.