- Andreas Rasche, Copenhagen Business School
- Guido Palazzo, University of Lausanne
- Andreas Georg Scherer, University of Zurich
- André Spicer, Cass Business School, City University, London
Background to special issue
The literature on corporate social responsibility (CSR) has taken a ‘political turn’ in recent years. This work has highlighted how firms are increasingly involved in the provision of public goods and shape global business regulation in various ways. The political understanding of CSR reaches beyond an instrumental view of corporate politics by highlighting how businesses not only influence politics via lobbying, but can become political actors themselves.
While the debate on these issues has proliferated in recent years, the various ways along which political CSR evolves have remained largely unexplored. In particular, there is a need to theorize the role of multinational corporations and how they manage political CSR on three interrelated levels.
- When looking at the macro-level, new organizational forms at the intersection of business, government, and civil society have emerged in recent years. For instance, a variety of so-called multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSIs), which aim at designing and enforcing rules for responsible corporate conduct, have been created. These new organizational forms are not yet sufficiently theorized.
- On the meso- or firm-level, there is surprisingly little analysis of how a political understanding of CSR can be reconciled with the prevailing business rational (‘creating economic value’)within corporations, how organizational responses, structures and identities are affected, and how the new understanding of the political role of business firms influences their interactions with other governance actors on the macro level.
- On the micro- or individual-level, there is a need to study individual behavior and its relationship with CSR across levels of analysis. Such studies will have to explore the role of leadership models such as transformational or responsible leadership in organizational and institutional change processes.
Types of submissions solicited
We invite conceptual and empirical submissions drawing on a range of theoretical perspectives and diverse methodologies. We expect papers to advance our theoretical understanding of the various forms of managing political CSR. While not representing an exhaustive list, the following topic areas highlight exemplary questions and research themes:
1. Macro-Level – Institutional Dynamics of Political CSR
- How do MSIs organize themselves across levels (global, national, regional, and local as well as industry), particularly when considering the existence of competing institutional logics or diverse interests among stakeholders?
- How do social movements or activists contribute to the (de-)legitimation of initiatives of political CSR such as MSIs or other inter-organizational initiatives? How do battles over credibility and legitimacy unfold between competing MSIs?
- How do firms’ political responsibilities emerge over time? Who influences the evolution of issues in different national and transnational contexts and what role do national business systems or national cultures play?
2. Meso-Level – The Intra-Organizational Dynamics of Political CSR
- How do political CSR initiatives emerge and evolve within corporations? What is the role of internal values, external pressure, competitive benchmarking and business-case rhetoric in early and later phases of such an engagement?
- In what ways do political responsibilities shape entrepreneurial or strategy making processes? How do they relate to organizational structures and procedures?
- In what ways do tensions between competing organizational discourses (e.g. on political responsibility and economic value creation) shape corporations’ political responsibilities?
3. Micro Level – The Individual in the Context of Political CSR
- How can individual engagement with political CSR be understood from various theoretical perspectives (e.g. sense-making, identity, network theories)?
- Under what conditions do managers or social entrepreneurs actively engage in political issues? How do corporate governance or incentive structures influence the way managers are engaged in political issues?
- What is the role of leadership when managing for political CSR? How do leaders rationalize their engagement towards their different audiences?
We encourage submissions that look at the various linkages between the three levels. We also encourage authors to develop a critical perspective on the research areas outlined above, especially since a comprehensive critique of political CSR has been missing from the literature.
Submission process and deadlines
Papers will be reviewed following the JMS double-blind review process. Papers should be submitted by 31 August 2013 by e-mail to the Guest Editors (firstname.lastname@example.org). Papers should be prepared using the JMS Guidelines which can be read here. The editors welcome informal enquiries related to proposed topics.
Special issue workshop
To help authors prepare their manuscripts for submission, a Special Issue Workshop will be held from 23-24 May 2013 at Copenhagen Business School (CBS), supported by the Sustainability Platform at CBS. Authors are invited to present and discuss their papers during the workshop. Presentation at the workshop does not guarantee acceptance of the paper for publication in JMS. To be considered for the workshop, please send your working paper to Andreas Rasche (email@example.com) at Copenhagen Business School by 15th March 2013. Submission of a paper to the workshop is not a precondition for submission to the Special Issue.