EGOS – Contesting Hegemonies in Organizing Social Responsibilities

EGOS –[SWG] Contesting Hegemonies in Organizing Social Responsibilities (sous-thème 02)

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

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?