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CSR in publicly owned enterprises: opportunities and barriers

Linne Marie Lauesen (Based at Svendborg Water Ltd, Svendborg, Denmark)

Social Responsibility Journal

ISSN: 1747-1117

Article publication date: 4 October 2011

Abstract

Purpose

CSR in water utilities in Denmark faces various challenges in getting to the same level as in private organisations. The water utilities are newly privatised, hybrid organisations that are both professionally and politically driven. The purpose of this paper is an examination of the opportunities and barriers in CSR in these publicly owned enterprises (POEs). The research question is: why do the opportunities of CSR in POEs seem more beneficial than for normal private businesses, while the barriers seem to slow the progression? The opportunities lie in the closeness to and willingness of the political decision‐makers of the city. The barriers to CSR in POEs stem from the legal regulatory framework, which dictates efficiencies, price and cost reductions and limits the ethical investments of the POEs.

Design/methodology/approach

The methodology of the paper is a comparative study and analysis of the current legislative and organisational framework for the POEs compared to the contemporary CSR approaches of Matten and Moon, Wartick and Wood, and Mitchell et al.

Findings

The findings show that a schism seems to exist in CSR of hybrid organisations, which is hard to overcome.

Originality/value

The originality of the paper and its contribution to the CSR literature lies in its pointing out the issues in opportunities and barriers in CSR in public, hybrid organisations that need to be solved before CSR can be fully implemented in public service companies at the same level as in private businesses.

Keywords

Citation

Lauesen, L.M. (2011), "CSR in publicly owned enterprises: opportunities and barriers", Social Responsibility Journal, Vol. 7 No. 4, pp. 558-577. https://doi.org/10.1108/17471111111175137

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited