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Corporate Social Responsibility, Accountability and Governance
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Corporate Social Responsibility, Accountability and Governance

Global Perspectives 

Edited by Istemi Demirag
October 2005   378 pp   234 x 156 mm  
hardback   ISBN 978-1-874719-56-4   £40.00  


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Seeks to explore the missing link between CSR (and associated reporting initiatives) and governance mechanisms that are capable of embracing true stakeholder accountability.

"a useful addition for the development of knowledge in CSR as an emerging discipline." - CSR International Book Review Digest

The 'business case' for corporate social responsibility, which suggests that socially and environmentally aware companies can expect to reap financial rewards, is seemingly gaining widespread acceptance within the business community. This is particularly apparent in the ever-increasing number of prominent companies parading their social, ethical and environmental credentials by producing paper- or web-based social and environmental, or sustainability, reports. In so doing, reporting companies claim, they are demonstrating a clear commitment to transparency and accountability to their key stakeholder groups. However, in the prevailing voluntaristic, business-case-centred climate within which such initiatives are taking place, little thought appears to have gone into the question of how stakeholders, other than the capital provider group, can actually use corporate disclosures offered in order to hold management accountable for the social and environmental consequences of their actions. While much corporate rhetoric abounds concerning notions of stakeholder dialogue and engagement, rigorous analysis of the governance implications of their claimed commitment to the principles of corporate social responsibility is largely conspicuous by its absence.

Corporate Social Responsibility, Accountability and Governance seeks to explore this 'missing link' between CSR (and associated reporting initiatives) and governance mechanisms that are capable of embracing true stakeholder accountability. A wide range of case studies, drawing on experiences of both public- and private-sector initiatives in Europe, the United States, Canada, South America and Asia, offer insightful analysis of the complex relationships between the state, the market and civil society in the development of CSR, accountability and sustainable development.

The book employs a multidisciplinary perspective in order to analyse the political, social, economic, technological, legal and organisational shaping of CSR. The complexities underpinning the concept are thereby clearly drawn out and the gross oversimplifications inherent in the prevailing consultancy-driven, business-case literature painfully exposed. Above all, the book offers a sound, practically and theoretically informed contribution to public policy debate and reflects and builds on urgent calls from public- and private-sector policy-makers as well as academics to develop better governance and accountability frameworks for business to deal with the imperatives of social responsibility, sustainable development and ethics.

This book is divided into five parts. In Part 1, the complex concepts of responsibility, accountability and governance are discussed, and in particular the presumed relationships between the state, the market and civil society in improving accountability and governance are explored and critiqued. Part 2 consists of chapters relating to corporate social responsibility and stakeholder theory. Part 3 is concerned with empirical studies covering governance structures, networking and corporate social responsibility. Part 4 deals with corporate governance and its implications for regulators and civil society. Part 5 discusses multinational companies and how they impact on national governance regimes. Finally, a summary is provided with emerging international patterns of accountability and governance structures.

Corporate Social Responsibility, Accountability and Governance will be essential reading for public and private policy-makers and practitioners and academics interested in how CSR can become more than a soundbite, and rather a substantial force for better global corporate governance and accountability.

  
REVIEWS

The papers are diverse ... This diversity together with the integration of private sector, civil society, state and public sector concerns — albeit in a somewhat optimistic and (probably) predominantly managerial context — offer an unusually stimulating study ... we get a very fresh take on social responsibility, understanding of sustainability and so on.
Social and Environmental Accounting Journal, Volume 26 Issue 1

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This is an intensive compilation of case studies and experiences on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), governance and accountability coming from public and private initiatives across the globe. Most of the case studies share a common denominator which revolves around multi-stakeholder partnerships for sustainable development. Generally, the book offers a multidisciplinary view in its analysis of political, social, economic, and legal structures among others, knitting together complex relationships from different actors of society in developing accountability and governance.

The book is divided into five parts and several case studies are presented in each part. In part one, the contributors explore the deficiencies associated with management in the context of CSR and provide case studies from Canada and the UK. This part highlights the concept of governance in the broader context of objectives, processes, systems, and cultures.

Part two tackles interdisciplinary CSR theories and concepts and cites examples of corporations that have taken initiatives and committed to seeking solutions for common good. This part points out that mutual accountability among private, public and civil society is a prerequisite to build effective, sustainable and viable partnerships.

Part three looks into empirical studies on emerging governance structures and CSR. A contributed article posits that network governance of collective learning processes is an appropriate structure for sustainable development.Additionally, the author argues that governance of sustainability requires innovation and cited the development of wind turbine industries in Europe.

Part four deals with corporate governance and its implications for regulators and civil society. Two models of corporate governance were covered  Anglo-American and continental European. The contributor points that the former model is becoming more socially responsible while the latter model tries to achieve the efficiency benchmark set by the former. Examples from the US were cited and examined in the context of the related theoretical framework.

The book concludes by dealing with multinational companies (MNCs) and their implications for the new governance structures, regulators and civil society. One contributed paper explores the role of law, government regulation, MNCs and NGOs in addressing various trans-boundary sustainability issues. Furthermore, this part examines the contribution of globalization to the development of international corporate responsibility, particularly the role of MNCs in engaging in partnerships with governments and NGOs, citing the potential role of the World Bank in this scenario.In general, this book compiled the CSR concepts and theories for sustainable development through multidisciplinary approaches in the analysis of corporate responsibility, governance and accountability.

It appears highly technical at first, but eventually appeals to the interest of the reader as one continues to flip through its pages. Therefore, this book is a useful addition for the development of knowledge in CSR as an emerging discipline.
Abner Barnuevo, CSR International Book Review Digest

Foreword

Professor David L. Owen, International Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility, Nottingham University Business School


Introduction: Responsibility, accountability and governance: the presumed connections with the state, the market and the civil society and an overview

Istemi Demirag, Queen’s University Belfast, UK
    
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Part 1: Emerging governance structures, risks and networking

1. Broadening the notion of governance from the organisation to the domain: a study of municipal water systems in Canada

Stephanie Bertels and Harrie Vredenburg, University of Calgary, Canada
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2. Regulation, responsibility and representation: challenges for intra-organisational communication

Wolfgang Meyer, Saarland University, Germany
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3. Multi-stakeholder collaborative processes, regulation and governance: two Canadian case studies

Marie-France Turcotte and Corinne Gendron, Université du Québec à Montréal (UQÀM), Canada
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4. Levels of new governance from a corporate perspective

Arved Lüth, Stefan Schäfers and Constanze J. Helmchen, IFOK Institute for Organisational Communication, Germany
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5. A framework for examining accountability and value for money in the UK’s Private Finance Initiative

Istemi Demirag, Melvin Dubnick and M. Iqbal Khadaroo, Queen’s University Belfast, UK
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6. Risk regulation regimes in aviation: were the chips ever really down in the UK’s management of Y2K?

Kevin Quigley, Queen’s University Belfast, UK
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Part 2: Corporate social responsibility and stakeholder theory

7. Seeking global solutions for the common good: a new world order and corporate social responsibility

Robin T. Byerly, Appalachian State University, North Carolina, USA
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8. Toward better governance: the stakeholder partnership framework

Craig E. Armstrong, University of Texas at San Antonio, USA
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9. Adding the stakeholder value: governance convergence in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors

Alison L. Dempsey, Canada
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Part 3: Empirical studies on emerging governance structures and corporate social responsibility

10. Governance via collective learning between corporate and public actors

Raimund Bleischwitz, Wuppertal Institute, Germany and College of Europe, Belgium, Kristian Snorre Andersen, Wuppertal Institute, Germany and Aarhus University, Denmark, and Michael Latsch, College of Europe, Belgium
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11. CSR in the Scandinavian countries: a review of voluntary versus regulated

Eli Bleie Munkelien, DNV Research, Norway, Pia Rudolfsson Goyer, University of Oslo, Norway; co-author: Izabela Fratczak, Technical University of Lodz, Poland, and Turku Polytechnic, Finland
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12. Governance and management of protected areas in Canada and Mexico

Angeles Mendoza Durán and Dixon Thompson, University of Calgary, Canada
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13. Putting governance to work in a US company: the Carris experience

Cecile G. Betit, independent researcher, USA
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14. Networks for environmental management: involving public and quasi-public organisations for market development towards sustainability in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

José Antônio Puppim de Oliveira, Brazilian School of Public and Business Administration—EBAPE; Getulio Vargas Foundation—FGV, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
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Part 4: Corporate governance and its implications for regulators and civil society

15. Corporate governance models: international legal perspectives

Zeljko Sevic, University of Greenwich, UK
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16. Conflicting and conflating interests in the regulation and governance of the financial markets in the United States

Istemi Demirag and Justin O’Brien, Queen’s University Belfast, UK
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17. A systemic view of US government in market governance: lessons learned from the California electricity crisis

Kimberly Samaha, AMP Consulting, France
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18. Good governance and anti-corruption mobilisation: do Russian NGOs have any say?

Diana Schmidt, Queen’s University Belfast, UK, and Sergey Bondarenko, Centre for Applied Research on Intellectual Property, Russia
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19. NGO–business collaborations and the law: sustainability, limitations of law, and the changing relationship between companies and NGOs

Kees Bastmeijer and Jonathan Verschuuren, Tilburg University, the Netherlands
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Part 5: Multinational companies and their implications for the new governance structures, regulators and civil society

20. Strategic options for multinational corporate programmes in international corporate social responsibility

Bryane Michael, University of Oxford, UK
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21. Concluding remarks on emerging governance structures and practices: the state, the market and the voice of civil society

Istemi Demirag, John Barry and Iqbal Khadaroo, Queen’s University Belfast, UK
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Istemi Demirag is Professor of Accounting at Queen's University Belfast where he acted as the Director of Accounting Research Group from 2000-2004. He has been the Chairman of the British Accounting Association's Special Interest Group on Corporate Governance since 1998 and a member of the British Accounting Association's executive group. His research interests include corporate governance, accountability, short-termism, and value for money in the public sector. He has authored, co-authored and co-edited a number of books including, Financial Management for International Business (McGraw-Hill, 1994), Corporate Governance, Accountability and Pressures to Perform: An International Study (first published in 1988 by JAI Press, and later by Elsevier). He has been a guest editor and co-editor of a number of major peer-reviewed international journals, including The Journal of Corporate Citizenship, British Accounting Review, Corporate Governance: An International Review and The European Journal of Finance.