5th CR3+ Conference- Call for Papers

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The overall theme of the conference is 'Making Corporate Responsibility useful'.

Until now the concept of Corporate Responsibility / Corporate Social Responsibility (hereafter CR), as used in business studies, may have been mostly made useful from the perspective of the ‘business case’, as exemplified by the long debate around the alleged positive relationship between Corporate Social Performance (CSP) and Corporate Financial Performance (CFP).

Too often, while the supposed positive impacts of CR on the business bottom line have been a key claim for legitimizing CR practice in business, business schools and business journals, the impacts on society have tended to be less closely investigated, or only from a win-win perspective focusing on obvious positive impacts without problematizing potential negative externalities.

In this conference, we wish to stimulate reflections and research on making CR useful not only for business (and not only in a narrow financial sense) but also from the perspectives of (1) society as a whole, (2) non-business actors, and (3) research. Thus, we invite papers that explicitly think in terms of making CR useful from a number of (partially overlapping) perspectives:

(1) Making CR useful for business firms and entrepreneurs (convenor Marjo Siltaoja, University of Jyväskylä)

(2) Making CR work better for the common good / communities / society (Nikodemus Solitander and Pia Polsa, Hanken)

(3) Making CR useful for/through non-business actors (Martin Fougère, Hanken)

(4) Making CR useful for research (Ville-Pekka Sorsa, Hanken)

(5) Social impact, responsibility and responsibilization in/of magement education and research (Norman Arruda Filho, ISAE, Curitiba, Brazil, and Nikodemus Solitander, Hanken)

(6) Critical issues in the organization of labour, human resource management and its consequences and impacts over workers health and their subjectivity (José Henrique de Faria, Camila Brüning and Rodrigo Moreira Casagrande, ISAE, Curitiba, Brazil)

(7) ‘Corporatization’ and CR (Ankur Sarin, IIM, Ahmedabad, India, Linda Annala and Yewondwossen Tesfaye, Hanken)

(8) Social Responsibility In Global Supply Chains (Gyöngyi Kovacs, Hanken and Sajad Fayezi, La Trobe)

(9) Environmental, Social And Governance (ESG) Data: Exploring Its Usefulness (Céline Louche, Audencia, Jean-Pascal Gond, Cass Business School, UK, and Emma Avetisyan, Audencia)

(10) Social and Human Sustainability Within and around Work Organisations (Charlotta Niemistö, Mira Karjalainen, Hanken, and Marjut Jyrkinen, University of Helsinki)

The deadline for a 500-1000 words abstract to be sent to ccr@hanken.fi is October 31 (acceptance in streams will be based on those abstracts, announced by November 30) and the deadline for full paper is April 10th. In your submission, clearly indicate which sub-theme(s), you want your submission to be considered for.

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Sub-theme 1

Making CR useful for business firms and entrepreneurs

Convenor:

Marjo Siltaoja

Jyväskylä University School of Business and Economics (JSBE)

Since the beginning of 21st century, corporate responsibility has become a global phenomenon. Accordingly, researchers have actively sought answers to the question of what increases the likelihood of firms adopting corporate responsibility (CR) practices. This question can be considered important due to the fact that CR has largely emerged as a concept, practice and policy used to address how firms allocate resources to address societal and environmental good or problems. However, in many cases, corporate responsibility still remains as mere rhetoric or as a corporate ghetto despite the fact that (1) the business case for CR has been one the most widely addressed topic in CR literature and (2) a consistent finding regarding the outcomes of CR initiatives is an improvement in a firm’s reputation or improved financial performance. Thus, we argue there is a need to approach and understand the ”usefulness” of corporate responsibility for firms and entrepreneurs in wider sense. Non-financial outcomes such as e.g. attractiveness for talented employees, improved demographic diversity or involvement in regulatory initiatives of one’s industry are few of such examples. However, we also welcome papers that do not follow the traditional view of something being useful in sense of direct positive outcomes. We therefore need to critically address, what does it mean that CR is useful for firms?   Does it mean that it enables some processes and outcomes or does it mean that it helps to avoid certain processes and outcomes? What are the limits of ‘usefulness’? There are situations that do not result in win-win outcomes for parties but are necessary to address. How are we then to address the idea of CR being  useful in such situations?

This sub-theme invites conceptual and empirical papers that respond to, but are not limited by, the following topics:

  • Why the usefulness of corporate responsibility for firms should (not) be a primary issue?
  • Critical incidents that have concretized the usefulness of CR for firms/entrepreneurs
  • Benefits of making and being the change, e.g. how firms can act as pacesetters for societal transformation and address the contemporary global problems  
  • Outcomes that result from firms responsibility: useful or not and for whose benefit?
  • The benefits and limits of firm’s collaboration with stakeholders (civil society organizations (CSOs), competitors, authorities, local communities etc.)
  • What are the challenges/problems/silenced topics when CR is promoted as a business case/useful for firms to engage with and how to overcome such problems/issues

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Sub-theme 2

Making CR work better for the common good, communities AND society

Convened by

Nikodemus Solitander (Hanken School of Economics, Finland)

Pia Polsa (Hanken School of Economics, Finland)

As noted in the CR3+ conference’s general theme, Corporate Responsibility is within business studies and management research often made most useful from the business case. Examples of the debate that focuses on the financial bottom-line case and social responsibility are works on Corporate Social Performance (CSP), Corporate Financial Performance (CFP), and Creating Shared Value (CSV). What these perspectives tend to have in common is that they suffer from a failure to adequately deal with trade-offs between economic and social value creation (Crane, Palazzo, Spence & Matten, 2014), framing issues at the outset as win-win scenarios focusing on obvious positive impacts without problematizing potential negative social/environmental impacts.

Within business practice of CR, on the other hand, and increased technical focus on reporting, the existence of codes of conduct etc. frames CR as largely a ‘technical’ or ‘communication’ problem to solve, but at the same time, there is an unwillingness to engage with ethical substance and social impact of actions/inactions (Blowfield, 2005; Reynolds and Yuthas, 2008), including those actions that have their roots in CR activities. 

Sustainability “performance” indexes and rankings are often geared towards the quality of transparency and disclosure rather than providing insights into what the social/environmental impacts of these metrics are (Delmas and Blass, 2010), and when impacts are measured, they are reliant on self-reported data as proxy for the social and environmental effects. The question thus remains how much CR reporting tells society about the impacts of CR?

This sub-theme thus calls for a serious reading of CR as the responsibility and accountability for impacts on society’, and invite conceptual, empirical or methodological papers that focus on the larger social and environmental impacts of CR initiatives without simplifying the complexities of social and environmental issues in a way that fits the business case for CR.

This sub-theme invites conceptual and empirical papers that respond to, but are not limited by, the following questions:

  • What kind of theoretical frameworks are useful to understand and deal with trade-offs between economic and social value creation?
  • What kind of business practice focusing on the ethical substance and social impact of actions/inactions can be found?
  • What kind of metrics can be found or developed that provide insight into what the social/environmental impacts of business activities are?

References

Blowfield, M. (2005), “Corporate Social Responsibility - the failing discipline and why it matters for international relations”, International Relations, Vol. 19 No. 2, pp. 173-191.

Crane, A., Palazzo, G., Spence, L. J., & Matten, D. (2014). Contesting the value of “creating shared value”. California management review, 56(2), 130-153.

Delmas, M., & Blass, V. D. (2010). Measuring corporate environmental performance: the trade‐offs of sustainability ratings. Business Strategy and the Environment, 19(4), 245-260.

Reynolds, M., and Yuthas, K. (2008). Moral discourse and corporate social responsibility reporting. Journal of Business Ethics, Vol 78 No.1-2, pp. 47-64.

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Sub-theme 3

Making CR useful for/through non-business actors

Convened by

Martin Fougère (Hanken School of Economics, Finland)

As noted in the general theme of the conference, CR research until now has tended to concentrate on positive impacts of CR from the perspective of businesses – as epitomized in Wang et al.’s (2016) recent ‘overview’ of the CR field in AMJ, where what is celebrated as “a conceptual shift from financial outcomes [of CR] to non-financial, social and organizational outcomes” (p. 536) is seemingly limited to outcomes such as “corporate attractiveness for job seekers…customer satisfaction…CEO succession…and executive compensation” (p. 537). While the supposed elite of CR academia thus continues to predominantly limit the ‘social’ aspects of CR to business-related positive outcomes, recent influential definitions of “CSR” (European Commission, 2011) and “social responsibility” (ISO, 2010) make it very clear that if CR is to be useful, it needs to be about social and environmental impacts on society. While one obvious implication of this explicit shift in definitions is that more CR studies should evaluate outcomes in terms of their impacts on society rather than only their impacts on business, a more concrete consequence has been the leveraging of the new definitions by various non-business actors for their own purposes.  

Thus, this theme is an invitation to look into how various non-business actors use CR for their own (usually, but not necessarily exclusively, utilitarian) purposes. Four main types of actors come to mind (although other types of non-business actors may be considered too!). First, various states have recently developed ambitious CR regulatory frameworks, whether attempting to steer corporate and entrepreneurial behaviours through advanced liberal government / governmentality (see e.g., Vallentin & Murillo, 2012) or establishing binding obligations for companies to devote a certain percentage of their profits to CR projects (e.g., Singh & Verma, 2014). Second, new regulatory actors such as multistakeholder initiatives (MSIs) typically leverage CR discourse in getting companies to ‘voluntarily’ subject themselves to soft law arrangements such as certifications (e.g., Moog et al., 2015). Third, many NGOs too use CR for their own purposes; for example, a number of watchdog organizations have been taking the new EU and ISO 26000 definitions seriously when engaging with businesses, often succeeding in getting companies and/or MSIs to respond to and act on their critiques in the name of CR (e.g., Skouloudis et al., 2015). Fourth, universities and especially business schools also increasingly draw on responsibility discourse (such as ‘responsible management education’) to argue that the education they offer leads to positive societal impacts; this reshaping and rebranding of business schools may serve both external and internal purposes (e.g., Solitander et al., 2012).

This sub-theme invites conceptual and empirical papers that respond to, but are not limited by, the following questions:

  • How states develop regulatory arrangements and/or incentives that steer businesses towards more responsible behaviour
  • How states combine CR rhetorics with their regulatory power to outsource some of their responsibilities to businesses
  • How multistakeholder initiatives both rely on self-regulation (‘voluntary’ CR activities) and get business to go beyond self-regulation (enhanced accountability?)
  • How watchdog NGOs leverage CR to get businesses to help close governance gaps through pressure-response relationships
  • How business-NGO partnerships are useful from the perspective of the NGOs (financial benefits, visibility, responsibilized business behaviour, first step towards change in regulation through industry leader, etc.)
  • How business schools (or universities) benefit from their ‘responsible’ profiling (accreditations and rankings, attractiveness for talented students, etc.)
  • How business schools (or universities) contribute to responsibilizing business behavior
  • How other types of non-business actors use CR for their own purposes

References

European Commission (2011). A renewed EU strategy 2011-14 for Corporate Social Responsibility. Brussels: COM (2011) 681 final.

ISO (2010). ISO 26000:2010. Guidance on Social Responsibility. http://www.iso.org/iso/catalogue_detail?csnumber=42546

Moog, S., Spicer, A., & Böhm, S. (2015). The politics of multi-stakeholder initiatives: The crisis of the Forest Stewardship Council. Journal of Business Ethics, 128(3), 469-493.

Singh, A., & Verma, P. (2014). From philanthropy to mandatory CSR: a journey towards mandatory corporate social responsibility in India. International Journal of Business and Management Invention, 6(14), 146-152.

Skouloudis, A., Evangelinos, K., & Malesios, C. (2015). Priorities and perceptions for corporate social responsibility: an NGO perspective. Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, 22(2), 95-112.

Solitander, N., Fougère, M., Sobczak, A., & Herlin, H. (2012). We are the champions: Organizational learning and change for responsible management education. Journal of Management Education, 36(3), 337-363.

Vallentin, S., & Murillo, D. (2012). Governmentality and the politics of CSR. Organization, 19(6), 825-843.

Wang, H., Tong, L., Takeuchi, R., & George, G. (2016). From the Editors – Corporate Social Responsibility: An Overview and New Research Directions. Academy of Management Journal, 59(2), 534-544.

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Sub-theme 4

             Making Corporate Responsibility Useful for Research

Convened by

Ville-Pekka Sorsa (Hanken School of Economics, Finland)

Various academic debates on business-society relations have been held under the labels of corporate responsibility (CR) and corporate social responsibility (CSR). But have these concepts in fact advanced our understanding of various issues in business, politics and society? If they have, what exactly has been their contribution?

Various scholars have cast doubt on the usefulness of these concepts over the years. One reason for doubt is that the field of research is generally characterized by vast conceptual diversity, strong disciplinary divisions and lack of integration between various scales of analysis (Aguinis & Glavas, 2012), which makes communication between different approaches difficult. The preferred research objects are also subject to various kinds of trends (Moura-Leite & Padgett, 2011), which may cause a tendency to “reinvent the wheel”. Problems regarding relevance are another case in point. Some problems emerge from the disparity the commonly available research materials, such as CR reports and politics, and the variety issues considered relevant by theories of CR. This is exemplified by constantly re-emerging critiques of CR reporting as green- or whitewashing (Bazillier & Vaudy, 2009) or CR policies lacking organizational routines and resources (Busse et al., 2013).

Some problems may lie much deeper, however. As various scholars have pointed out (e.g., Banerjee, 2007, 2008; Devinney, 2009), there are systematic disparities between academic representations and assumptions of CR, and organizational and social realities of CR. Various scholars have attempted to provide a stronger ontological grounding for CR to avoid such disparities. Matten and Moon (2008) have identified two different fields of research, one focused on ‘explicit CSR’, or the voluntary corporate programs articulating and bearing responsibility over social and environmental issues, and ‘implicit CSR’, the social norms and expectations that firms face in different environments. CR has been ontologically grounded to various types of social factors and mechanisms like social and political-economc institutions (Brammer et al., 2012; Campbell, 2007), collective memory (Mena et al., 2016; Schrempf-Stirling et al., 2016), perceptions and cognition (Lange & Washburn, 2012) or communicative interaction (Basu & Palazzo, 2008; Schultz & Wehmeier, 2010). Others have rooted the analysis of CR not in the social but in the political (Mäkinen & Kourula, 2012; Scherer & Palazzo, 2007; Scherer et al., 2014).

But what exactly has been the contribution of such advances? What exactly have they enabled to describe, analyze or explain more accurately, reliably or coherently? Have they made research of CR more relevant theoretically, scientifically or for the popularization of research? Have they linked different disciplines and fields of research like for example comparative political economy, research on social movements, management studies and normative ethics? Or, in brief, what makes different ontologies and theories of CR more useful for research? The purpose of this track is to discuss how different ontological and normative conceptions of CR be mobilized to change existing theories to describe, analyze, explain and prescribe business, social or/and political phenomena and practices.

This sub-theme invites conceptual and empirical papers and literature reviews that respond to, but are not limited by, the following questions:

  • What makes theories of corporate responsibility ‘useful’ for research?
  • What kind of theories and ontologies of corporate responsibility has been presented in previous research?
  • What kind of phenomena and critical questions do different conceptualizations of CR ‘reveal’ or raise in comparison with each other?
  • What kinds of theories of CR are useful for connecting different academic disciplines and scales of analysis?

References

Aguinis, H., & Glavas, A. (2012). What We Know and Don’t Know About Corporate Social Responsibility A Review and Research Agenda. Journal of Management, 38(4), 932–968. http://doi.org/10.1177/0149206311436079

Banerjee, S. B. (2007). Corporate social responsibility: the good, the bad and the ugly. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.

Basu, K., & Palazzo, G. (2008). Corporate Social Responsibility: A Process Model of Sensemaking. Academy of Management Review, 33(1), 122–136. http://doi.org/10.5465/AMR.2008.27745504

Bazillier, R., & Vauday, J. (2009). The Greenwashing Machine : is CSR more than Communication. Retrieved from https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-00448861

Brammer, S., Jackson, G., & Matten, D. (2012). Corporate Social Responsibility and institutional theory: new perspectives on private governance. Socio-Economic Review, 10(1), 3–28. http://doi.org/10.1093/ser/mwr030

Busse, R., Sun, L., & Zhu, V. (2013). Authenticity shortage of corporate social responsibility. Human Systems Management : HSM, 32(4).

Campbell, J. L. (2007). Why Would Corporations Behave in Socially Responsible Ways? An Institutional Theory of Corporate Social Responsibility. The Academy of Management Review, 32(3), 946.

Devinney, T. M. (2009). Is the Socially Responsible Corporation a Myth? The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Corporate Social Responsibility. The Academy of Management Perspectives, 23(2), 44–56. http://doi.org/10.5465/AMP.2009.39985540

Lange, D., & Washburn, N. T. (2012). Understanding Attributions of Corporate Social Irresponsibility. Academy of Management Review, 37(2), 300–326. http://doi.org/10.5465/amr.2010.0522

Matten, D., & Moon, J. (2008). “Implicit” and “Explicit” CSR: A conceptual framework for a comparative understanding of corporate social responsibility. Academy of Management Review, 33(4), 404–424.

Mena, S., Rintamäki, J., Fleming, P., & Spicer, A. (2015). On the Forgetting of Corporate Irresponsibility. Academy of Management Review, amr.2014.0208. http://doi.org/10.5465/amr.2014.0208

Moura‐Leite, R. C., & Padgett, R. C. (2011). Historical background of corporate social responsibility. Social Responsibility Journal, 7(4), 528–539. http://doi.org/10.1108/1747111111117511

Scherer, A. G., & Palazzo, G. (2007). Toward a political conception of corporate responsibility: Business and society seen from a habermasian perspective. Academy of Management Review, 32(4), 1096–1120. http://doi.org/10.5465/AMR.2007.26585837

Scherer, A. G., Palazzo, G., & Matten, D. (2014). The Business Firm as a Political Actor A New Theory of the Firm for a Globalized World. Business & Society, 53(2), 143–156. http://doi.org/10.1177/0007650313511778

Schrempf-Stirling, J., Palazzo, G., & Phillips, R. (2015). Historic Corporate Social Responsibility. Academy of Management Review, amr.2014.0137. http://doi.org/10.5465/amr.2014.0137

Schultz, F., & Wehmeier, S. (2010). Institutionalization of corporate social responsibility within corporate communications: Combining institutional, sensemaking and communication perspectives. Corporate Communications: An International Journal, 15(1), 9–29. http://doi.org/10.1108/13563281011016813

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Sub-theme 5

Social Impact, Responsibility and Responsibilization in/of Management in/of Management Education and Research

Convened by:

Norman Paula Arruda Filho, Higher Institute of Business and Economics, ISAE, Paraná, Brazil;

Nikodemus Solitander, Hanken School of Economics, Helsinki, Finland

The last ten years has seen an increased discussion and debate over the role of business schools, and higher education at large, in society.  This has included issues such as: the negative impact of ideologically inspired ‘amoral’ management theories on practice (Ghoshal 2008); the neoliberalization and marketisation of higher education institutions (Lorenz, 2012); the reinforcement of narcissistic traits of students in educational encounters (Westerman et al, 2012); the limited social reach and diffusion of subscription-based/paywall  research output; the negative and restrictive effects of academia’s obsession with journal impact factors (Blockmans, Engwall and Weaire, 2014; Mingers & Willmott 2013); and the unintended disempowerment of research subjects (O'Reilly & Dhanju, 2010; Watts, 2006).

In the spirit of the general call of CR3+ this subtheme invites papers to engage with questions around how business schools can take responsibility for their positive and negative impacts on society and increasingly focus on the societal impacts of research and teaching. It asks how researchers’ and teachers work with a variety of stakeholders outside the university, producing initiatives together, including not only theoretical concepts of sustainability, equality and justice but also as practical concepts (c.f. Batterbury 2013).  Inspired by the Sustainable Development Goals’ (SDGs) call for knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development and ‘a serious reading’ of the UN Principles for Responsible Business Education (PRME), this subtheme asks how business schools can contribute to a more stable and inclusive global market and help build prosperous and successful societies. We invite a variety of empirical, conceptual and methodological papers to stimulate research and teaching practice around the UN PRME values of Inspiration; Impact;  Implementation; and/or Innovation.

This sub-theme invites conceptual, methodological and empirical papers that respond to, but are not limited by, the following topics:

  • Pedagogies for sustainability and social responsibility
  • The co-production of knowledge in research and/or in the classroom
  • Deconstruction of epistemic hierarchies
  • Intellectual and academic activism
  • New frontiers of Critical Management Education
  • Measuring and the metrics of the social/societal impact of business schools
  • New models and methods of research dissemination

References

Batterbury S. (2014), Who are the radical academics today? The Winnover, available at https://thewinnower.com/papers/327-who-are-the-radical-academics-today

Blockmans, W., Engwall, L., & Weaire, D. (2014). Science as big business. Wenner-Gren International series, 87, 143-150.

Ghoshal, S. (2005). Bad management theories are destroying good management practices. Academy of Management learning & education, 4(1), 75-91.

Lorenz, C. (2012). If you're so smart, why are you under surveillance? Universities, neoliberalism, and new public management. Critical inquiry, 38(3), 599-629.

Mingers, J., & Willmott, H. (2013). Taylorizing business school research: On the ‘one best way’performative effects of journal ranking lists. Human Relations, 66(8), 1051-1073.

O'Reilly, K., & Dhanju, R. (2010). " Your Report is Completely Wrong!"(aapkii report ek dum galat hai!): Locating Spaces Inside NGOs for Feedback and Dissemination. Human Organization, 69(3), 285-294.

UN Sustainable Development Goals, Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning, available at http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/education/

Watts, J. (2006). ‘The outsider within’: dilemmas of qualitative feminist research within a culture of resistance. Qualitative Research, 6(3), 385-402.

Welsh, R., Glenna, L., Lacy, W., & Biscotti, D. (2008). Close enough but not too far: assessing the effects of university–industry research relationships and the rise of academic capitalism. Research Policy, 37(10), 1854-1864.

Westerman, J. W., Bergman, J. Z., Bergman, S. M., & Daly, J. P. (2012). Are Universities Creating Millennial Narcissistic Employees? An Empirical Examination of Narcissism in Business Students and Its Implications. Journal of Management Education, 36(1), 5-32.

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Sub-theme 6

Making CR Work Better For the Common Good/ Communities/ Society: Critical Issues in the Organization of Labour, Human Resource Management and its consequences and impacts over workers health and their subjectivity.  

Convened by:

José Henrique de Faria (ISAE, Curitiba, Brazil)

Camila Brüning (ISAE, Curitiba, Brazil), Camila.bruning@isaebrasil.com.br

Rodrigo Moreira Casagrande (ISAE, Curitiba, Brazil)

Within the five P's of the 2030`s agenda for Sustainable Development cited by the United Nations Development Program, the topic here proposed, relates mainly to the “P” that stands for “People”. Specifically, “people in organizations” and the goal to ensure dignity and equality for all.

The subtheme here proposed is called “Critical Issues in the Organization of Labour, Human Resource Management and its Consequences and Impacts over Workers Health and their Subjectivity”. We encourage authors to send papers discussing the dynamics of organizations and work relations regarding subjectivity processes, power relations and control in organizations, processes of how capitalist ideology spreads on the working class, the constitution of workers´ identity, processes of submission and resistance of the work force, pleasure and suffering at work, workers´ defensive strategies, worker’s health, discrimination and equality at work.  

This sub-theme invites conceptual and empirical papers that respond to, but are not limited by, the following topics:

  • Configurations of work relations, as well as different configurations of human resource management in organizations and its social or subjective consequences over workers;
  • Possibilities of sustainability on labour relations and current practices in workforce management, as well as innovations in adopting more fair, equitable and healthy human resources management practices;
  • Other prioritized Analysis categories include: power relations; meaning of labour for workers; precariousness of labour; social control mechanisms; management technologies, the kidnapping of subjectivity; ideology; psychological distress; health at work; Social justice; democratic management of the work process; social sustainability of labour relations; innovation and social transformation.

An interdisciplinary theoretical framework is encouraged, we welcome contributions from Psychology, Social Psychology, Psychodynamic of Work, Critical Psychology, Sociology, Psychosociology, Critical Theory, Political Economy of Power, Organizational Studies and Critical Organizational Studies, among others.

The main analysis category here is “Labour Relations”, understood beyond its formal aspect of contract and employment, but understood as the processes through which people interact at work organizations, as well as on the society as a whole.

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Sub-theme 7

‘Corporotization’ AND CR

Convened by:

(Prof.) Ankur Sarin (IIM, Ahmedabad)

Linda Annala (Hanken School of Economics)

Yewondwossen Tesfaye (Hanken School of Economics)

With an increased control on market networks and resources, corporations/businesses have expanded their activities to the social and environmental sectors through CR. CR activities are often planned and implemented in partnership with other non-business actors or solely by the corporations themselves. Accordingly, a number of business professionals and business strategies from the corporate sector have been brought to the non-business sectors with the aim of ‘sharing corporate expertise’ with non-corporate sector in planning and executing CR activities. Further, the CR divisions of corporates have become significant recruiters for those in the social sector, offering salaries and compensations greater than otherwise available for those wishing to work in the social sector.  This is highly evident in countries like India, where majority of corporations are required to spend 2% of their net profits on CR. However, following the notion of ‘sharing business expertise’ comes another institutional concept of ‘corporatization’, which implies the shared ‘business expertise’ are not actually contained within and/or controlled by the other organization, rather serve as a means to redefine and reframe the other organization as a business entity or at least as a commercial wing of a business entity. Thus, before celebrating the notion of ‘sharing business expertise’ in the social and environmental worlds, it is important to critically investigate how ‘corporatization’ is understood together with the settings within which it prevails. The importance of these questions are further accentuated by the typically unequal relations that characterize the relationship between the corporate and social sector. 

This sub-theme invites conceptual and empirical papers that respond to, but are not limited by, the following topics:

  • The intra and inter organizational implications of ‘corporatization’ within CR
  • Implications of ‘corporatization’ on social sector and public policy
  • ‘Corporatization’ and the nature of boundaries negotiated between different actors in CR
  • Boundaries between ‘business experience sharing’ and ‘corporatization’ (When does ‘business experience sharing’ actually become ‘corporatization’ and when does it become an optimistic assistance to non-business sectors?)
  • ‘Corporatization’, the respective nature of CR activities, and the endured societal outcomes
  • Non-business actors’ (governments, NGOs, etc.) appropriation of ‘corporatization’ in their understanding of CR, and the respective implications on reframing CR activities so as to best suit their (non-business actors’) interests.   

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Sub-theme 8

Social Responsibility in Global Supply Chains

Convened by:

Dr Sajad Fayezi, La Trobe Business School,

Gyöngyi Kovács, Hanken School of Economics

The integration of social responsibility (SR) into local, regional, and global supply chains is receiving growing attention in the media, academia and the corporate world. Businesses have started to proactively recognize the social impact of their operations, however implementation of SR especially in the global supply chains remains little more than an elusive goal. Global supply chains largely managed by multinational manufacturers or large-retailers span boarders and continents and as such encompass various political, social, cultural and institutional systems and sub-systems which exacerbate the complexity of SR integration. Therefore, a supply chain-wide understanding and investigation of SR is both relevant and important as it resembles the realities of today’s businesses competing on supply chain efficiency and excellence.

In light of the above, it is important to explore the requirements, contingencies and conflicts of socially responsible supply chains operating in complex and multi-faceted institutional settings. Further, various issues related to separation of ownership and control in global supply chains and their implication for SR implementation should be examined. Governance mechanisms, inclusive business models, and paradoxical tensions and trade-offs for embracing multi-dimensional sustainability in global supply chains are among other fruitful areas of research to advance theory and practice of SR in supply chains.

We therefore welcome submissions (literature review, conceptual, theoretical or empirical) that deal with some of these issues and present new insights and innovative ideas regarding the intersection of SR and supply chain management.

This sub-theme invites conceptual and empirical papers that respond to, but are not limited by, the following topics:

  • Social sustainability in multi-tier supply chains
  • Social responsibility practices in supply chain
  • Base of the pyramid supply chains
  • Integrating social sustainability in developing/emerging economies operations
  • Institutional pressures and social responsibility
  • Supply chain governance (e.g. training, incentives, auditing) and social responsibility
  • Inter-relationships between sustainability and agility in global supply chains
  • Supply chain collaboration for social sustainability implementation
  • Visibility/transparency and social responsibility in global operations
  • Aligning social sustainability strategy, operations strategy and business strategy
  • Paradoxes and trade-offs in multi-dimensional sustainability (i.e. social and environmental/financial)
  • Ethical and responsible procurement and low cost country sourcing

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Sub-theme 9

Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Data: exploring its usefulness

Convened by:

Céline Louche (Audencia Business School, France)

Jean-Pascal Gond (Cass Business School, UK)

Emma Avetisyan (Audencia Business School, France)

Over the past few decades a new industry has emerged (Avetisyan and Hockerts, forthcoming; Gond, 2006): the market for social ratings, populated by numerous Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) rating organizations. This rather new industry is the result of the growing demand for assessing companies’ performance on ESG factors especially coming from the investors’ side with the growth of the responsible investment movement. It also reflects broader societal trends that point towards an ideology of quantification (Chelli & Gendron TBA). If the first ESG rating agency was created in 1983 (EIRIS in the UK), this field as an industry has witnessed many changes over the last twenty years in terms of actors, activities and market-driven consolidations (Avetisyan & Hockerts, forthcoming). Interestingly, it seems that as of today this industry is still in search of a ‘sustainable’ business model.

Although ESG rating agencies vary greatly, in their activities, approach, structure and form, they can be described as agencies which objective is to evaluate companies’ corporate environmental, social and governance performance. ESG rating organizations have taken several forms. In its 2011 report, Novethic provides four categories (Gerain & Leconte, 2011): international agencies (for example EIRIS, Vigeo, MSCI ESG Research, etc.), extra-financial information providers (for example Asset 4, Bloomberg, RepRisk), specialized agencies (Maplecroft, Solaron, Trucost, etc.) and the local agencies (Ethifinance).

These ESG ratings are dominantly used by asset owners and asset managers to design their portfolios. They also play a central role in research in strategic and Business and Society research (Chatterji et al., 2015; Chatterij, Levine, & Toffel, 2007). To take an American example, KLD ratings are very often as used as proxy to evaluate CSR related constructs (e.g. Mattingly, 2015; Hillman & Keim, 2001; Waddock & Graves, 1997). Nonetheless the validity, the reliability and the credibility of these data are still subjects of debates (e.g. (Entine, 2003). Too often scholars have “taken for granted” these measurements without questioning in depth neither the processes of rating construction nor the work of people constructing and actualizing these ratings.

Although ESG rating organizations have been studied by many scholars (Avetisyan & Ferrary, 2013; Gond, 2006; Louche, 2004; Slager, Gond, & Moon, 2012), little is actually known about the dynamics that underlie the production of ESG data and that structure interactions between multiple ESG data providers. ESG rating agencies remain ‘black boxes’ (Latour, 1987) in terms of data and practices but also in terms of data usage and usefulness. This question becomes even more relevant and crucial with regard to the ESG mainstreaming movement where ESG data are being increasingly used and integrated in the asset owners or investment managers’ practices (Dumas, 2015).

In the context of this subtheme, we propose to open the black box to investigate the usefulness and usability of ESG data both for practitioners (responsible investors, companies, governments) and academics. In doing so we want to better understand 1) the role and limitation of ESG data and ESG rating organizations in the business arena as well as in the academic arena, 2) the social construction of ESG data and ESG rating organizations and 2) the usefulness, adoption, and transformation of ESG data within various financial institutions.

This sub-theme invites conceptual and empirical papers that respond to, but are not limited by, the following questions:

  • Exploring the ‘right to rate’ of ESG rating organizations:
    • Are ESG rating organizations regarded as legitimate accreditation agencies?

    • How do ESG rating organizations construct and manage their legitimacy?

    • Through which processes ESG rating organizations (have) acquire(d) their legitimacy toward their environment/constituents?

    • What is the relevance and legitimacy of ESG rating organizations towards constituents of the RI field and beyond? (also mainstream financial analysts and financial institutions, academics, etc) 

  • Explore the practices, activities and business models of ESG rating organizations and users of ESG data
    • What types of institutional work are required to translate ESG data in a way that makes it used and useful for mainstream investors?

    • How does the translation process take place?

    • How well do ESG data capture the reality of corporate behaviour?

      How good are ESG data provided by CSR rating agencies?

    • How do institutional investors use the ESG data in their ESG engagement and integrations processes?

    • What are the consequences/implications for RI mainstreaming?

    • Under what conditions ESG information becomes more permanently diffused?

      How (carefully) ESG data should be used in academia?

    • What business model for ESG rating organizations? How has ESG rating as an industry evolved?

Avetisyan, E., & Ferrary, M. (2013). Dynamics of Stakeholders' Implications in the Institutionalization of the CSR Field in France and in the United States. 115, 115-133. doi:10.1007/s10551-012-1386-3

Avetisyan, E., & Hockerts, K. Consolidation of ESG rating industry: Motivations and impacts. Business, Strategy and Environment, Forthcoming.

Chatterji, A. K., Levne, D. I., & Toffel, M. W. (2007). How well do social ratings actually measure corporate social responsibility? . Retrieved from

Chatterji, A. K; Durand, R., Levine, D.I., & Touboul, S (2015). Do ratings of firms converge? Implications for managers, investors and strategy researchers. Strategic Management Journal

Dumas, C. (2015). The challenges of responsible investment mainstreaming: beliefs, tensions and paradoxes (Doctoral dissertation), Ghent University.  

Entine, J. (2003). The myth of social investing: A critique of its practice and consequences for corporate social performance research. Organization & Environment, 16(3), 352-368.

Gerain, Y., & Leconte, D. (2011). Panorama des Agences de Notation Extra-Financière. Retrieved from Paris:

Gond, J. P. (2006). Contribution à l’étude du concept de performance sociétale de l’entreprise. Fondements théoriques, construction sociale, impact financier. PhD dissertation. Laboratoire Interdisciplinaire de Recherche sur les Ressources Humaines et l’Emploi (LIRHE),  (PhD). Université Toulouse 1, Toulouse.

Hillman, A. J., & Keim, G. D. (2001). Shareholder value, stakeholder management and social issues: whatメs in the bottom line. Strategic Management Journal, 22(2), 125-139

Latour, B. (1987). Science in action: How to follow scientist and engineers through socety. Harvard university press

Louche, C. (2004). Ethical Investment: processes and mechanisms of institutionalisation in the Netherlands, 1990-2002. PhD dissertation, Erasmus University Rotterdam. Optima Grafische Communicatie, Rotterdam.

Mattingly J. E. 2015. Corporate Social Performance A Review of Empirical Research Examining the Corporation–Society Relationship Using Kinder, Lydenberg, Domini Social Ratings Data. Business & Society, 0007650315585761.

Slager, R., Gond, J.-P., & Moon, J. (2012). as institutional work: the regulatory power of a responsible investment standard. Organization Studies, 33(5-6), 763-815

Waddock, S. A., & Graves, S. B. (1997). Quality of managment and quality of stakeholder relations - Are they synonymous? Business & Society, 39(3), 250-279.

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Sub-theme 10

Social and Human Sustainability Within and Around Work Organizations

Convened by:

Charlotta Niemistö (Hanken School of Economics)

Mira Karjalainen (Hanken School of Economics)

Marjut Jyrkinen (University of Helsinki)

In this stream we are especially interested in organisational factors that enable, or hinder, the ability to work, coping at work and blurring boundaries between work and non-work in the intensified 24/7-economy. We are also interested in the relationships between, on the one hand, work, and, on the other hand, care responsibilities outside of work. These themes relate to inequalities in work life.

We welcome both contextual and empirical papers with a focus on social and human sustainability. The papers can, for example, explore leadership, organisational policies and practices, discourses on work and non-work, or also silences within the discourses.

The stream is organised by a group of researchers from the project Social and Economic Sustainability of Future Working life: Policies, (In)Equalities and Intersectionalities in Finland (WEALL), funded by The Academy of Finland (Strategic Research Council). The research is conducted at the University of Helsinki, Hanken, and Jyväskylä University.

Key words: boundaries between work and non-work, work-life balance, work-family relations, coping at work, age, gender, (in)equalities in organisations, intersectionality, diversity, leadership, policies, practices 24/7 economy.

This sub-theme invites conceptual and empirical papers that respond to, but are not limited by, the following topics:

  • Leading human sustainability in organisations
  • Managing boundaries between work and non-work
  • Organisational policies and practices around work and non-work, work/family reconciliation and/or age in organisations
  • Organisational policies and practices around techniques of mind and relaxation (e.g. mindfulness, yoga, tai chi and other forms of meditation)
  • Discourses on work/non-work, or also silences within the discourses

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