Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

CSR standard no guarantee for social responsibility

22.09.2008
Why are some companies regarded as socially responsible and others not?

Many companies use CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) in their marketing and therefore want to find a simple company-friendly way to use the concept. But business analyst Annette Cerne, Lund University in Sweden, maintains that such a simplification entails risks-¬as does leaving it to consumers to judge what is meant by being socially responsible.

When companies, interest organizations, government authorities, and cooperative bodies work with CSR, they also shape the concept to make it suit their own interests. What voices are then heard in the debate also determine what meaning the term 'socially responsible company' takes on. A common view in the responsibility debate is that it is a matter of finding a way to use the concept that is beneficial for the company and simple to carry out.

Certification can be one such solution, meaning that consumers, through their purchases, signal companies what social responsibility they should take.

Business analyst Annette Cerne, who will soon defend her doctoral thesis at the School of Economics, Lund University, has compared how Swedish and British supermarket companiesretailers lend meaning to CSR, and she has analyzed how the CSR issue is addressed by companies and organizations in the debate about sustainable fishing. She claims that simplification may bring risks:

"Ultimately it can result in Corporate Social Responsibility being transformed into Consumer Social Responsibility. What one might then wonder is whether consumers are sufficiently knowledgeable to make such judgments, but also what happens to ideas like democracy if we vote with our pocketbookswallets. What's more, one might wonder what happens with issues like 'sustainable fishing' and 'fair trade' if consumers should happen not to be interested in such matters. Does this mean that companies need not think about such things in their operations? The seemingly optimal solution that presents itself would then be that everyone participating in a debate should reach an agreement, by compromising to find a solution to a problem."

"In a British debate I studied, just such a solution was reached. It looks attractive on the surface, but if you go a bit deeper, you can see that agreement obscures compromise positions that are hard to reconcile in practice. One example is how to bring together ideas about sustainability. Ecological sustainability can draw the short straw in relation to economic sustainability, since the underlying views of growth, for instance, differ considerably."

An interesting observation in this connection is that in comparing a British and a Swedish company, both of which worked in a similar manner with CSR, there were stark differences in how the companies were perceived based on the character of the debates. In the unified and more moderatemore homogeneous British debate, the company was seen as being socially responsible. In Sweden, the debate was more hot-bloodedheterogeneous, and the company was regarded as more socially irresponsible.

Some people maintain that CSR is something companies more or less only talk about, with very little being done in practice. However, Annette Cerne maintains that when we talk or write about matters, we also make things happen.

"For example, saying that it is socially responsible to refrain from fishing in the Baltic makes it appear to be irresponsible to sell fish from there. By expanding this to include fish from the entire North Atlantic, you change the concept and what companies are included. CSR therefore becomes a highly flexible and complex concept. It also means that it can be problematic to simplify the concept in an attempt to generalize and to reach broad consensus."

Annette Cerne, Department of Business Administration, School of Economics, Lund University, will publicly defend her dissertation on September 26. The dissertation is titled: Working with and Working on Corporate Social Responsibility - The Flexibility of a Management Concept.

Contact Annette Cerne at phone: +46 (0)46-222 36 36 eller annette.cerne@fek.lu.se

Kristina Rörström | idw
Further information:
http://www.vr.se

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Lying in a foreign language is easier
19.07.2018 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht Engineering cooperation
05.07.2018 | Institute of Science and Technology Austria

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Global study of world's beaches shows threat to protected areas

19.07.2018 | Earth Sciences

New creepy, crawly search and rescue robot developed at Ben-Gurion U

19.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Metal too 'gummy' to cut? Draw on it with a Sharpie or glue stick, science says

19.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>