To read the full-text of this research, you can request a copy directly from the authors.
... This paper contributes to the growth of the academic literature on the emerging topic of SR in public sector organizations (Dentchev et al. 2018;Dumay et al. 2010;Kappo-Abidemi and Ogujiuba 2020;Navarro-Galera et al. 2014;Vázquez and Lanero 2016). Specifically, we investigated the implementation of SR in universities' medium-long-term planning processes, applying the content analysis technique to a selected sample of 20 strategic plans issued by public large and mega Italian universities. ...
This paper examines the degree of social responsibility integration in Italian public universities’ medium and long-term planning documents. We adopted a qualitative approach, applying the content analysis technique to a selected sample of 20 strategic plans issued by Italian large and mega universities. The coding instrument was developed considering the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) contained in the United Nations 2030 Agenda. Therefore, we identified 17 categories and 103 key symbols. The analysis undertaken showed that to date, Italian public universities still pay little attention in their planning documents to objectives regarding the multiple dimensions of Social Responsibility, mainly in relation to environmental issues, a failure detrimental to University Social Responsibility implementation and achievement. However, there is a greater sensitivity to Social Responsibility issues in some universities’ planning documents, therefore also more mature practices can be identified, showing universities that have institutionalized the concept of sustainability in their planning documents.
... The fourth question asked which institutional elements at all levels are the main enablers for the development of the partnerships, and the fifth focused on the elements that need to be revised to enhance the development of the partnerships. Although CSSPs focused on local sustainability have increased in numbers  and are recognized as crucial to achieve sustainability , they are certainly not perfect  and their impact remains an open question. Hence, these questions aim to contribute to the improvement of sustainability partnerships by highlighting the elements of context that should be positively considered as well as identifying those that may need to be managed properly so that they do not negatively affect the development of partnerships. ...
Institutional contexts influence structures and processes of any organizational system. Most of the research on cross-sector partnerships (CSSPs) has focused on their internal performance, methods, and effectiveness; however, the institutional contexts that allow or inhibit their development have been limitedly assessed. Many local CSSPs address sustainability issues, and this research explores Barcelona + Sustainable’s and Bristol Green Capital Partnership’s institutional contexts at the local, national, and international levels. Interviews were conducted with the leaders of the partnerships and responses were assessed using Scott’s (1995) institutional pillars. Findings show the cultural-cognitive and normative institutional elements of context as the most relevant for local sustainability CSSPs, with regulatory elements not existing at the national level nor cultural-cognitive at the international scale. More importantly, results highlight trust, diversity, communication channels, sense of place, changing perceptions, and coopetition as key learnings to be considered for other partnerships in their design. Finally, with cultural-cognitive and normative elements speaking of the power of local features, it is these partnerships the ones influencing others beyond their scopes of action, with the potential of leading sustainability even further. However, associated activities and resources to provide stability and meaning to sustainability partnerships must be satisfied for that to happen.
... The applicability of the concept of CSR beyond traditional business has been debated as CSR extends to other organizational forms such as small and medium enterprises (e.g., Amaeshi et al., 2016), public organizations (e.g., Dentchev, Eiselein, & Kayaert, 2018), and NPOs (e.g., Pope et al., 2018). As such, scholarly activity now includes various organizational settings despite the "corporate" limitation in the terminology used. ...
Nonprofit organizations (NPOs) increasingly implement socially responsible programs to address their responsibilities toward society. Although collaborations are a valuable means to tackle complex social issues, NPOs also similarly collaborate with other NPOs for delivering socially responsible programs. However, the motivations driving NPOs to collaborate with likeminded organizations for socially responsible programs remain unclear. Using a single embedded in-depth case study research design, our purpose is to examine the formation of collaborations among sport federations and sport clubs for socially responsible programs. Reflecting the interplay between resource-based view and institutional perspectives, our findings intrinsically indicate that partners demonstrate similarity in their motivations to collaborate due to their organizational fit, but with some key differences in the complementary resources they seek. Organizational legitimacy and resource exchange needs for socially responsible programs are driving the collaboration rather than organizational survival needs. The potential to create social value makes this nonprofit collaboration form unique.
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is gaining more and more importance day by day. CSR is not only drawing the corporate magnates into its circumference, but is also luring educationists, social activists, reformists, from all over the world to delve deeper into it. Changing market scenario, globalization, ethical consumerism all are adding heat to the CSR concept. More and more organizations are showing their commitments towards CSR either for enhancing their corporate image or to be in competition. Emergence of different marketing innovations demands direct linkage of corporate social responsibility practices with the business corporate strategies. The present article reviews the CSR literature from 1975 to 2011, conveying changing developments of CSR practices. Keywords: Globalization, ethical consumerism, competition, innovation
Governance became a catch-all concept for various forms of steering by state and non-state actors. While it pays tribute to the complexities of steering in poly-centred, globalised societies, its fuzziness makes it difficult to oversee who actually steers whom and with what means. By focussing mainly on actor constellations, the article disentangles governance into seven basic types of regulation, four of them representing public policies with varying degrees of government involvement and three depending solely on civil society (civil regulation), on businesses (industry or business self-regulation) or on both (civil co-regulation). Although each of the seven types is well known and extensively researched, they are rarely joined in a synoptic view, making it difficult to grasp the totality of contemporary governance. After introducing the seven basic types of regulation and co-regulation, the article addresses the interactions between them and it adds the widely used concepts of hybrid regulation and meta-governance in distinct ways. The synoptic view provided here helps to comprehend how governmental deregulation has been accompanied by soft governmental regulation as well as “societal re-regulation”. The concluding discussion emphasises that this “regulatory reconfiguration” is the cumulative product of countless, more or less spontaneous initiatives that coincide with forceful global trends. It also stresses that the various forms of regulation by civil society and business actors are not simply alternatives or complements to but often key prerequisites for effective public policies. Although the essentials of the typology developed here can be applied universally to a variety of policy issues, I focus it on how businesses are steered towards sustainable development and Corporate Social Responsibility.
Is local participation always optimal for sustainable action? Here, Local Agenda 21 is a relevant case as it broadly calls for consensus-building among stakeholders. Consensus-building is, however, costly. We show that the costs of making local decisions are likely to rapidly exceed the benefits. Why? Because as the number of participants grows, the more likely it is that the group will include individuals who have an extreme position and are unwilling to make compromises. Thus, the net gain of self-organization should be compared with those of its alternatives, for example voting, market-solutions, or not making any choices at all. Even though the informational value of meetings may be helpful to policy makers, the model shows that it also decreases as the number of participants increase. Overall, the result is a thought provoking scenario for Local Agenda 21 as it highlights the risk of less sustainable action in the future.
Offered here is a conceptual model that comprehensively describes essential aspects of corporate social performance. The three aspects of the model address major questions of concern to academics and managers alike: (1) What is included in corporate social responsibility? (2) What are the social issues the organization must address? and (3) What is the organization's philosophy or mode of social responsiveness?
Local governments play a key role in the implementation of sustainable development. Here, we investigate the factors that influence local sustainability performance. Sustainability performance is defined as a combination of both policy output and policy outcome. We then investigate how it has developed in the Netherlands and the factors that influence it. We use theoretical insights from Public Management and Policy Networks to derive an analytical model. Data are taken from a nation-wide monitoring tool to explore local sustainability performance. The study demonstrates that municipality size and network membership positively correlate with local sustainability performance. Furthermore, it turns out that the sustainability field does not attract equal attention in all areas, and that “frontrunner” local authorities are distinguished by the additional attention they pay to issues related to corporate social responsibility. Finally, methodological pitfalls were identified in the practice of local sustainability monitoring, which could help improve future research.
By signing the Agenda 21 declaration from the Earth Summit in Rio in 1992, the UK government committed itself to the preparation of a national sustainable development plan. To facilitate this process, Chapter 28 of Agenda 21 envisages significant local-authority-led action for sustainable development at the local level (United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), 1992). Termed Local Agenda 21 (LA21) plans, these rely heavily on active citizen participation and empowerment, thereby challenging the established orthodoxy of top-down down models of citizen participation and planning. The theory and the rhetoric suggest that LA21 has the potential to bring about substantive change to current environmental, economic and social systems. However, does LA21 deliver in practice, and what kind of change, if any, is effected to attain the elusive goal of sustainable development? This paper addresses these concerns with reference to recent research carried out in Powys and Ceredigion County Councils in rural Wales (Figure 1). Both are unitary authorities following local government reorganisation in Wales in 1996. By examining survey data, minutes of meetings and reports, as well as employing participant observation techniques, this research documents and contrasts the philosophy, approach and potential of the LA21 programmes.
We address the question of how and why corporate social responsibility (CSR) differs among countries and how and why it changes. Applying two schools of thought in institutional theory we conceptualize, first, the differences between CSR in the USA and Europe and, second, the recent rise of CSR in Europe. We also delineate the potential of our framework for application to other parts of the global economy.
‘Local Agenda 21’ (LA21) refers to the general goal set for local communities by Chapter 28 of the ‘action plan for sustainable development’ adopted at the Earth Summit in Rio in 1992. Chapter 28 is an appeal to ‘local authorities’ to engage in a dialogue for sustainable development with the members of their constituencies. This dialogue seeks for a new participation process where the communication between local authorities and all local stakeholders goes beyond existing and traditional consultation. By nature LA21 is therefore a participatory reform. What is unique about LA21 as a participatory reform is that Chapter 28 of the Agenda was developed at the supra-national level. LA21 is being actioned in more than 6,400 local authorities in 113 countries (CSD, 2002).
Given that LA21 is a supra-national initiative it leaves considerable room for cross-national variation as to how, when, and why, the LA21 idea becomes salient. The substance of any particular ‘Local Agenda 21’ will be related to the specific nature of the local community in question (its geography, demography, economics, society, and culture) (Lafferty & Eckerberg, 1998). In this respect Chapter 28 can cope with diversity between local authorities.
We analyse the Local Agenda 21 (LA21) implantation process in Western Europe from 1992 to the present day. Basing our work on a literature review and on our own direct observations, we construct a model that explains the development of LA21 processes. We term it the ‘isolated, supported, and connected’ (ISC) framework.. Our model attempts to make a contribution to (1) LA21 literature and (2) policy network literature. On the one hand, previous LA21 literature discussed factors that hold back and drive LA21 processes, but a comprehensive conceptual framework has not been constructed. Our model integrates the different variables within a single conceptual ISC framework. On the other hand, conceptual policy network literature holds that fully connected models ought to be superior to less connected, or isolated, models, but empirical evidence is scanty and inconclusive. Our research supports the conclusion that policy networks are superior in terms of disseminating LA21 processes.
Over the last decade, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has been defined first as a concept whereby companies decide voluntarily to contribute to a better society and cleaner environment and, second, as a process by which companies manage their relationship␣with stakeholders (European Commission, 2001. Nowadays, CSR has become a priority issue on governments’ agendas. This has changed governments’ capacity to act and impact on social and environmental issues in their relationship with companies, but has also affected the framework in which CSR public policies are designed: governments are incorporating multi-stakeholder strategies. This article analyzes the CSR public policies in European advanced democracies, and more specifically the EU-15 countries, and provides explanatory keys on how governments have understood, designed and implemented their CSR public policies. The analysis has entailed the classification of CSR public policies taking into consideration the actor to which the governments’ policies were addressed. This approach to the analysis of CSR public policies in the EU-15 countries leads us to observe coinciding lines of action among the different countries analyzed, which has enabled us to propose a ‹four ideal’ typology model for governmental action on CSR in Europe: Partnership, Business in the Community, Sustainability, and Citizenship, and Agora. The main contribution of this article is to propose an analytical framework to analyze CSR public policies, which provide a perspective on the relationships between governments, businesses, and civil society stakeholders, and enable us to incorporate the analysis of CSR public policies into a broader approach focused on social governance.
As corporate social responsibility involves a voluntary business endeavour to address social and environmental issues beyond legal compliance, governments cannot fall back on hierarchical command-and-control policies to support it. As such, it is complementary with the increasing popularity of public policies known as New Governance policies, where the government is engaged in a horizontal inter-organizational network of societal actors and where public policy is both formed and executed by the interacting and voluntary efforts from a multitude of stakeholders. However, such policies are known to generate substantive uncertainty about the content of CSR and its related issues, strategic uncertainty regarding the behavior of the actors involved and institutional uncertainty related to the interaction process involved in the institutional change. We explore New Governance policy instruments to address these uncertainties in the context CSR and discuss the experiences with these methods in the European Union. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2007
The role of governments in business and society (B&S) research remains underexplored. The generally accepted principle of voluntarism, which frames responsible business conduct as an unregulated subject under managerial discretion, accounts for this gap. Paradoxically, there are sufficient acknowledgments in academia and practice on different roles of governments. The present article identifies three broad topics for research, addressing (a) the paradox between the principle of voluntarism and the role of governments in B&S, (b) the boundaries of governments and business in their contribution to B&S issues, and (c) the mechanisms of government intervention that affect corporate social performance. The authors approach the first topic with a literature review of 703 articles marked with the term “government” from five journals in the field (Business & Society, Business Ethics: A European Review, Business Ethics Quarterly, Business Strategy and the Environment, and Journal of Business Ethics) between 1982 and 2011. This study indicates that the principle of voluntarism remains, despite the broad variety of research related to the role of government in B&S. In addition, the identified content provides deeper insight into the mechanisms of government intervention and on the boundaries of governments in the B&S discourse. This article then provides a summary of the other three research articles included in this special research forum, with a contribution oriented toward the latter two research avenues posited.
This paper provides the first comprehensive review of peer-reviewed journal articles on Local Agenda 21 processes worldwide between 1992 (Rio Summit) and 2012 (Rio+20 Summit). An in-depth analysis is carried out on 90 articles selected from an initial sample of 420, in order to determine their profile in terms of time, geography, authors' field and methodological approach, and analyze their content to: (1) proxy the gap between the ideal Local Agenda 21 model and real-world Local Agenda 21 practices in terms of participation, and long-term orientation and monitoring; and (2) identify the causes of this gap and ways to overcome it. Our findings show that real-world Local Agenda 21 practices are far from fitting the ideal Local Agenda 21 model. Progress in terms of participation is very limited and many of the reported processes fail in terms of long-term orientation and monitoring. This gap between purposes and real-world practices seems to be related with limited and decreasing resources and decision-making powers of local governments, a hierarchically oriented political-administrative system, and the top-down mind-set of many local representatives. However, even though a lot remains to be done and there is plenty of room for theoretical and operational development, Local Agenda 21 processes have made a lasting impact, deeply changing the way we understand and implement sustainable development today.
In the corporate social responsibility (CSR) literature, the principle of voluntarism is predominant and implies that responsible business activities are discretionary and reach beyond the rule of law. This principle fails to explain that governments have a great interest in CSR and exercise influence on firms’ CSR activities. Therefore, we argue in favour of a contingency approach on voluntarism in CSR. To this end, we analyse the academic literature to demonstrate how governments are part of the CSR debate. We selected 703 papers where the impact of governments is mentioned from five journals in our field (BEER, BEQ, BSE, BAS, JBE) in the period 1982–2011. We studied the titles and abstracts of these papers and provide an overview of: (i) the geographical orientation of the reviewed studies; (ii) the variety of government levels involved; and (iii) the various subjects where governments appear to be involved. In addition, an in-depth reading of a subsample of 39 articles offers more details on the role of governments in the CSR literature. Hence, we offer a structured overview on the discussion of CSR and governments while stimulating a contingent understanding of the voluntarism concept in CSR.
As an approach to development, many see capitalism as reaching across an enormous range of scholarly domains and political interests. For some time geographers and others have begun to conceptualize capitalism as less of a system of intrinsic economic logic and more a collection of social and discursive relationships. By bringing capitalism into the “discursive world” these commentators and others have provided the theoretical ground for an exploration of alternative economic forms, especially those that are more socially and ecologically just. This paper makes an argument for putting sustainable development through the same theoretical scrutiny. Drawing on examples from the US we recruit the concept of “actually existing sustainabilities” from Altvater’s concept “actually existing socialisms” as an entry point to this conversation. Our purpose is to show that the potential for sustainability in the US exists in current local policies and practices if we rethink how we frame it.
Business and society academics face an ongoing dilemma between the rigorous demands of good scholarship and the personal and pragmatic demands of constituencies and themselves. This dilemma is, above all, an ethical one, but it is partially solvable by paying closer attention to theory and methodology while acknowledging individual biases and desires and helping others in the field to do the same.
This paper will look back at the history of public participation in the plan-making process in the UK and consider the differences between this and the approaches to community involvement being adopted for Local Agenda 21. The paper will go on to examine the new consultation procedures, with reference to a number of case studies. The dilemmas about whether or not to include certain groups such as the development industry, as well as how to include them, will be discussed. Finally the lessons so far as indications for the future are considered.
The aim of this article is to contribute to understanding the changing role of government in promoting corporate social responsibility (CSR). Over the last decade, governments have joined other stakeholders in assuming a relevant role as drivers of CSR, working together with intergovernmental organizations and recognizing that public policies are key in encouraging a greater sense of CSR. This paper focuses on the analysis of the new strategies adopted by governments in order to promote, and encourage businesses to adopt, CSR values and strategies. The research is based on the analysis of an explanatory framework, related to the development of a relational analytical framework, which tries to analyze the vision, values, strategies and roles adopted by governments, and the integration of new partnerships that governments establish in the CSR area with the private sector and social organizations. The research compares CSR initiatives and public policies in three European countries: Italy, Norway and the United Kingdom, and focuses on governmental drivers and responses. The preliminary results demonstrate that governments are incorporating a common statement and discourse on CSR, working in partnership with the private and social sectors. For governments, CSR implies the need to manage a complex set of relationships in order to develop a win-win situation between business and social organizations. However, the research also focuses on the differences between the three governments when applying CSR public policies. These divergences are based on the previous cultural and political framework, such as the welfare state typology, the organizational structures and the business and social and cultural background in each country.
Previous research has identified factors affecting local government (LG) adoption of Local Agenda 21 (LA21). The objective of this research is to propose a measurement model and test it in the case of a specific region, the Basque Country. Research results show that the embrace of LA21 by LGs is explained by internal characteristics of LG and factors associated with LG environment, which is fostered, fundamentally, by higher levels of government that can create connected or networking processes. The most relevant external factors are associated with a concept under-emphasised in previous sustainable development literature: cocreation. We propose that, to achieve generalised diffusion of LA21-type tools, we should emphasise cocreation in networks instead of networks in general. The measurement model used in this research could be used in other contexts as a means of confirming or refuting our results and offer politicians a guide for achieving a more generalised and robust diffusion of LA21 processes. This research contributes to LA21 and innovation-adoption literatures.
This paper focuses on the general concern that theories on the social responsibility of business have not much practical value. We discuss the central theses of mainstream themes in the business and society literature – corporate social responsibility, corporate social responsiveness, social issues, corporate social performance, stakeholder management, corporate citizenship, business ethics, sustainable development, and corporate sustainability – and evaluate their descriptive accuracy, normative validity and instrumental power. A great deal of the literature views corporate contribution to social and environmental issues from a moral perspective. Such moral prescription widens the expectational gap between theories and practice. If business and society literature is to have any practical value, our theorizing should make sense to businesses. It therefore needs to reflect, at least partially, the practitioners’ concerns with social responsibility. Hence research questions with practical relevance should be posed, and methods adopted from empirical inquiry, focusing on well-defined problems. Although the empirical method is advocated here, we do not plead for its enforcement on colleagues who might consider it inappropriate. Yet, we do appeal to normative theorists to ponder whether their prescriptions to business can be realistically implemented.
The changing role of governments in CSR: Drivers and responses
Differences in ethical beliefs, intentions, and behaviors: The role of beliefs and intentions in ethics research revisited
Sustainability schizophrenia or “Actually Existing Sustainability’s”: The politics and promise of a sustainability agenda in the US