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Revisiting rights and responsibility: the case of Bhopal

Loong Wong (Senior Lecturer in the School of Business and Government, University of Canberra, Canberra, Australia.)

Social Responsibility Journal

ISSN: 1747-1117

Article publication date: 7 March 2008

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Abstract

Purpose

This paper seeks to examine the activities and consequential effects of a transnational corporation in a developing country. Via an examination of the industrial accident in Bhopal and a discursive examination of the firm's strategies, the paper seeks to contest the firm's claims that it has been acting responsibly. The paper further suggests that the contexts and development of the relationships, and claims by Union Carbide and its supporters, and its place within the global economy, must be critically examined and subjected to a systemic analysis if corporate social responsibility is to have any significant resonance.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper seeks to integrate a wide range of epidemiological and social science literature relating to Bhopal. It seeks to examine Bhopal within the context of power discourse and the relationships engendered via its manifestations and practices. This discursive approach enables the researcher to disentangle various strands of practice within the context of the transnational firm and local communities

Findings

The paper finds that a more systemic approach to corporate governance and corporate social responsibility (CSR) is necessary, if developing countries and local communities are to be treated as critical in the development process and as stakeholders in the debate on CSR.

Originality/value

By its examination if this case, the paper emphasises the need for a more systemic approach to corporate governance and CSR.

Keywords

Citation

Wong, L. (2008), "Revisiting rights and responsibility: the case of Bhopal", Social Responsibility Journal, Vol. 4 No. 1/2, pp. 143-157. https://doi.org/10.1108/17471110810856910

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited