Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Editorial From: Society and Business Review, Volume 6, Issue 3
This issue is built with six papers.
In “Symbols as cultural expressions of technology diffusions”, U. Ojiako and B. Aleke are arguing that, when, in the literature, technology has been shown to perform two major roles, one functionalist and the second symbolic. The authors focus on exploring how cultural expressions in the form of symbols impact on technology diffusion. The findings of the research suggest that an understanding of the symbolic role of technology in the form of “space”, physical structures, communication facilitators and a status symbol may enhance the success of its adoption among indigenous agribusinesses.
As following, in “Social networks among small agribusinesses in Nigeria”, B. Aleke, U. Ojiako and D. Wainwright argue on the diffusion of information and communication technology (ICT) among small indigenous agribusinesses operating in Southeast Nigeria. The study emphasises the role played by social networks in the process of innovation and technology diffusion. The research is conducted utilising a qualitative approach based on semi-structured interviews with agribusiness proprietors. The main objective of the authors is to show how interaction between different actors and their engagement in the social process plays a major role in ICT diffusion. In particular, the authors highlight the role played by cultural imperatives in sustaining the diffusion of innovation process.
M. Islam and M. Islam have proposed a text on “Environmental incidents in a developing country and corporate environmental disclosures: a study of a multinational gas company” to examine the environmental disclosure initiatives of Niko Resources Ltd – a Canadian-based multinational oil and gas company – following the two major environmental blowouts at a gas field in Bangladesh in 2005. As part of the examination, the paper is particularly focused on whether Niko’s disclosure strategy was associated with public concern pertaining to the blowouts. The findings show that Niko did not provide any non-financial environmental information within its annual reports and press releases as a part of its responsibility to the local community who were affected by the blowouts, but it did produce a stand-alone report to address the issue. However, financial environmental disclosures, such as the environmental contingent liability disclosure, were adequately provided through annual reports to meet the regulatory requirements concerning environmental persecutions. The findings also suggest that Niko’s non-financial disclosure within a stand-alone report was associated with the public pressures as measured by negative media coverage towards the Niko blowouts.
In “The illusory nature of standards: the case of standards for organic agriculture”, M. Linneberg investigates the implications of the paradoxical situation in which standard setters are placed when standardising human practice. Hence, contrary to standards, human practices are ambiguous, heterogeneous, and highly context dependent. In contrast, standards are unambiguous and apply across cases. For the purpose of illustration, the paper draws on the example of organic agricultural standards. Although, some research has concentrated on the political processes involved in standardisation, there is in this paper a specific interest in the criteria needed for a standard to be considered a valid expression of practice and in turn be trustworthy.
In “Full-fledged stakeholders or social partners? Trade unions and CSR in Europe (France, Germany and the UK)”, O. Delbard explores the rather poorly documented relation between trade unions and corporate social responsibility (CSR) governance issues in Europe, focusing on three European countries, France, Germany and the UK, representing three distinctive models of trade unionism in Europe. The analysis first investigates the theoretical implications of CSR theories for trade unions, then describes the somewhat paradoxical relation between unions and CSR today, with a view to answering the following questions: what is the actual status of trade unions in the CSR debate? Are there major differences between European countries? How could unions fully participate in the CSR debate in Europe? The article concludes that union involvement at a global level (via international framework agreements) may be the best means to trigger union responsiveness to and participation in the CSR agenda.
In the last paper of this issue “Challenge and innovation in the legal discourse: achieving corporate responsibility for human rights”, A. Voiculescu is doing the mapping out of the voluntary – regulatory dynamics of the discourse of human rights in business context within the European Union regulatory environment. The article examines the human rights and CSR discourses at the European Union institutional level in order to identify the interplay between soft and hard regulatory instruments that may contribute to the “human rights for business” normative landscape. Emphasising voluntariness as main tool, but also recognizing the importance of domestic uses of corporate law, of the investment and trade agreements as well as of the international development cooperation tools, this framework Report is in need of “operationalisation”. Starting from the interface between domestic and international developments in CSR and human rights for business, this article explores the extent to which the European CSR context can offer tools and instruments towards such an operationalisation of the corporate responsibility for human rights and for social values generally. The article charts the dynamic relationship between EU soft-regulatory attempts and the Community mandatory legislation. Together, these define the EU’s policy on CSR and human rights. The article reveals an innovative normative mosaic, made up of complex soft and hard regulatory instruments that should enable the EU to integrate economic, trade and human rights policies and, ultimately, to contribute to the new CSR framework proposed at the international level.