CSR in an age of Isolationism: Volume 16

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(15 chapters)


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Part 1 Theoretical Contributions


Antiglobalisation sentiments appear to be on the rise in some parts of the world. As such, there are concerns that this may in turn jeopardise some of the common business practices, such as corporate social responsibility (CSR). This study argues that that is not the case. On the contrary, CSR is firmly entrenched as an institution in the political, economic and social structures of the globalised market. By that reason, it is relatively insulated from any attempts to undo the process of globalisation. However, the proliferation of connections between individuals, organisations and institutions across the world in recent years has irrevocably changed the market dynamics, particularly in relation to the process of value creation between a firm and its stakeholders. In this new market landscape, stakeholders play an active role in exchanging resources amongst themselves towards achieving socioeconomic outcomes, with the firm facilitating or mediating the connections. Thus, we see the rise of new value chains and business propositions. In light of that, CSR too would need to evolve and adapt to the current market circumstances or otherwise risk losing legitimacy. For that purpose, a fresh market paradigm is required. To that end, this study proposes the adoption of the service-dominant logic (SDL) perspective as a general framework for firms to conceive and operationalise their CSR. It concludes with an illustrative case, which provides some indication of how the precepts of SDL could be applied in the context of CSR, in an age of enhanced interactivity between the various actors.


Declining growth rates and rising unemployment as well as socio-economic inequalities signalled the crisis of globalisation. Dissent around socio-economic inequalities and austerity measures was articulated by far-right political parties and populist leaders coupled with the rise of anti-immigrant and xenophobic political parties. Within this historical context, this chapter has two concerns. First, how do mainstream and critical approaches within the discipline of International Political Economy explicate double crises of liberalism (economic liberalism and political liberalism) and rise of populism and far-right politics. It then aims to uncover what these approaches anticipate for future prospects of globalisation and which kind of strategies they put forward to overcome the crises. Second, the chapter then aspires to study to what extent there is retreat from globalisation and a rising trend of isolationism through debating continuity and change in terms of foreign direct investment and international trade after 2007–2008 crisis. Is it possible to observe change in the flow of foreign direct investment and internationalisation/transnationalisation of production? Are economies moving towards protectionism? What happens to multilateral and bilateral trade agreements after the failure of Doha talks? In a nutshell, is there a retreat from globalisation or is it simply populism and/or post-truth society that the world is going through under the current context?


Inequities among people all around the world as well as indifference towards the environment continue to be a constant reality despite the efforts of some organizations worldwide for a better future. We consider that these efforts need to be amplified by many other organizations, therefore, the role of managers as practitioners who conduct organizations' actions need to be explored in the sense of their contribution for improving our reality. Hence, for a better future, a sustainable world that could be more fair, honest and concerned towards nature. To us, this calls into question the role of management education to this regard. Our research studies indicate that one way to contribute to this aim is by means of introducing in contents and pedagogical practices of our courses, the appropriateness of human values in students, as they are the future managers. In this chapter, we present some of these human values, sometimes considered by many religious traditions as spiritual values, which are: wholeness, forethought, solidarity and compassion. We conceptualize these values, and throughout critical reflections, we show how they are taken into account, or simply disregarded, in various courses and domains of Business Schools. At the end, we present some suggestions for pedagogical practices.


The sawmill shootings in British Columbia, Canada, resulted in fatalities and grievous injuries to workers, which have put a sensational face on workplace violence in the forestry sector. Yet, for all of the attention devoted after this horrific incident, to the growth and possible consequences of workplace violence, little empirical investigation has been done regarding the extent to which this type of violence may have permeated the sawmill forestry workplace in Canada; employees' experiences of workplace violence; employees' definition of workplace violence; the specific type of violence that occurs in sawmills; and the drivers of workplace violence as experienced and perceived by managers, union, and employees in the forestry sector context in British Columbia, Canada.

This research critically explores these questions to better understand employees' experiences of workplace violence, the problems of violence and its implications for workplace stress, well-being, leadership, and corporate governance. This research contributes to the workplace violence body of knowledge as it relates to employment in the forestry sector in British Columbia, Canada.

A mixed methodological approach was adopted using 367 questionnaire survey, 20 telephone interviews, and 2 focus groups lasting 45–60 minutes (managers and employees) were used to focus on managers, union, and employees' accounts of their own experiences and perceptions of workplace violence.

The analysis of the data in this study lends support to the conclusion that workplace violence waged against workers in the forestry sector is significantly different than the violence being perpetrated in other sectors and work settings. The findings further suggest that forestry workers work environment, communities, and activity contributes meaningfully to the differences in workplace violence experienced by Sawmill employees.

Insights obtained from this research can be used to develop educational tools and resources, and new policies to foster workplace practices conducive to reducing drivers to workplace violence, towards a more respectful workplace and overall employee well-being.


The chapter examines the simultaneous rise of a new spirit of isolationism amid the increasing role of globalization of business and economic activity. It focuses on the competing claims regarding whether Africa could be better off or not in the light of the current isolationist views being expressed by some world leaders and countries. The chapter’s importancve lies in the fact that it contributes to a discussion which has been of considerable concern to many people of late. Whilst it is still too early to predict the long-term effect on the current isolationist policies by some developed countries, it is quite clear that Africa will lose the attention of the world in view of the recent happenings. Ironically, the uncertainty and disruption underway could also provide the needed impetus that can propel the continent to assume responsibility for itself and thereby strife to develop itself more efficiently and effectively than it has ever done.

Part 2 Regional Contributions


Corporate social responsibilities (CSRs) with social, economic, and environmental elements become of high demand in the private, public, as well as third-world sectors or so-called non-governmental organizations (NGOs). These sectors have their own identity in carrying out the CSR projects. However, the CSR initiatives to be implemented by the NGOs promised challenges due to the NGOs' identity in justifying human rights that remains dissimilar with corporation or fund provider's identity to maximize the profit with less concern on the humanitarian issues leading to tension for both parties to have CSR project alliances. NGOs face extreme difficulty to raise funds from the private sector due to their ideology in influencing the social movements that might harm society. Also, the fund raised by the NGOs for CSR projects are somehow misused by this party for its own self-interests and leads to an accountability issue. An NGO is seen as a key player in CSR projects but still there is an issue of legitimacy and mistrust amongst stakeholder groups. Underlying to these issues, this study aims to explore the challenges faced by NGOs in regards to the CSR initiatives that have been announced by the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) to be used widely and harmoniously by all sectors of the world and its future directions to successfully implement CSR in its own style of leadership. Therefore, the involvement of NGOs in CSR initiatives can be effectively employed with government intervention on economics development programmes in alleviating poverty which becomes a central issue highlighted in many countries nowadays. Extensive rules and regulations from the government towards NGOs are embedded within the CSR project developments of NGOs and are necessary in reducing the discrepancies in the roles that NGOs play.


This chapter focuses on discussing the Malaysian government's ‘No Plastic Bag Day’ campaign. This is due to the fact that consumers are accustomed to use plastic bag in their daily life activities. However, considering the hazardous impact on the environment, the government has banned the use of plastic bag in most of the states. While many consumers accepted this new rule whole-heartedly, many are still struggling to adopt it. This chapter highlights its journey of implementation and challenges pertaining to this sustainability marketing campaign in Malaysia.


This chapter critically examines the dynamics that exists between workplace violence, employee well-being, and governance as experienced and perceived by employees in the Forestry context. The purpose of this research is to explore what signals the prevalence of workplace violence in the Forestry sector; to understand the consequences of workplace violence; to explore the degree to which workplace violence can be stopped; and how can employers strive for a violence “free” and healthy workplace. This chapter focuses on research into workplace violence in the Forestry sector in British Columbia, Canada.

A questionnaire survey, telephone interviews, and focus groups were used to focus on managers, union, and employees' verbal accounts of their own experiences and perceptions of workplace violence. Managers completed 367 questionnaire surveys. The union and employees from across five different organizations also completed the survey that was analyzed. Twenty semi-structured telephone interviews were conducted with each interview lasting 60–75 minutes, tape-recorded, and transcribed verbatim. Two focus groups were the one with 15 managers only and the other with 10 union representatives. Each focus group lasted 45–60 minutes, tape-recorded, and transcribed verbatim.

This research adopted an interpretivist approach, which allows a positivist and an interpretivist viewpoint that examines situations to establish the norm by using questionnaires, interviews, and focus groups. The mixed methodology is appropriate for addressing the research aims and provided insight into the lifeworld of participants, providing the opportunity for managers, union, and employees to share their personal experience of workplace violence. Using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) provided insight into the lifeworld of participants, providing the opportunity for employees, managers, and union representative to share their personal experience of workplace violence and its implications for governance, violence prevention, and employee well-being at work.

The data revealed that 13 key themes emerged as salient to forestry workers' perspective of workplace violence, the prevalence of violence, consequences of violence, prevention of violence, and how employers can strive toward a violent “free” and healthy workplace. These themes include Stress Management, Mental Health, Leadership Development, Trust, Employee Involvement and Engagement, Communication and Collaboration, Education and Training, Employee Violence Assistance Program, Violence Response Protocol, Respectful Workplace Culture, Job Redesign, Fear of Change, and Employee Appreciation. This research has relevance for employee well-being, leadership, governance, corporate social responsibility, and performance for practitioners and academics alike. The findings and insights from this research can be extrapolated to other organizations inBritish Columbia, Canada, and other parts of the world.


In recent years, especially after the 2008 global financial crisis, the global economic recovery has been struggling. The trend of anti-globalization with populism and protectionism around the world is on the rise. As the largest developing country, China will engage in promoting global economic integration for common development of the world to promote the sustainable development and globalization. This paper will focus on the global operations of Chinese MNCs and explore their social responsibility to go global under the B&R Initiative, study their performance of social responsibility, analyze the potential risks and put forward countermeasures. Based on the report of the Top 100 Chinese MNCs released by China Entrepreneurs Association in 2016, we select 35 corporations related to the B&R, use their comparatively complete data and conduct a statistical analysis of their CSR data. To study the economic, social and environmental performance of CSR and sustainable development, we focus on three major indicators, including employee, environment and the public. Data from 2012 to 2016 are considered, for a total of five years. Through the analysis of CSR data, this paper points the social responsibility development status of major Chinese MNCs under the B&R Initiative and reveals some problems and risks that still exist in the fulfillment of social responsibility. In response to these issues, we make analysis from the perspective of stakeholders, so as to provide ideas for the development of social responsibility of the related corporations. At the initial stage of China's initiative of the Belt and Road, it is a new attempt to launch a research on the social responsibility of Chinese MNCs. Traditionally, research on CSR tends to make horizontal comparison of corporations in different countries and focuses on a certain year. Based on the traditional research and differ from them, we extend the time interval of research beyond a certain year and adopt the trend analysis to CSR data. In addition, case introduction is also used. According to the stakeholder theory and the comprehensiveness of the data, the research is focused on three main aspects, namely, employee, environment and the public. And, we have made a relative conversion of these indicators. These thoughts can examine the social responsibility development of related corporations in a given period and help promote the B&R Initiative.


The essence of responsibility in leadership can help to integrate course of action of policy makers and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). This will augment meaningfulness of the humanity in human in the present era of isolationism, when everyone is becoming the part of the race. However, the precise criterion of different contexts of behaviour for Corporate Social Performance (CSP) that the pioneers or leaders understood and demonstrate the accountability is uncertain. This ambiguity and multiple dimensions of responsible leadership (RL) present in the current literature are concurring. Gaps identified indicates that there should be a methodical research on the impact of such leadership on the societal and firm level of outcomes. By following interpretivism approach in research, this paper relies on the content analysis of speeches, welcome stories, biographies and recorded interviews of selected business leaders and entrepreneurs in India. This research study identifies four different dimensions of orientation that leaders practice while fulfilling their responsibility and envisioning CSR. The limitation of this study is that it tries to map the leader's orientation under a cultural spectrum, but its findings still provide major insights for the future perspective of research based on the RL matrix model. The outcome of this study will be useful for the leaders to recognise the dimensions of responsible leadership for creating value addition in their style and practices. The model identified envisages practical implications of the corporate social responsibility theory.

Part 3 Case Study Contribution


Globalization and its impacts on economies, societies and cultures has been a hot topic of research and discussion in the past few years. Recent times are witnessing the upsurge of another doctrine in the international arena – the practice of isolationism, a policy majorly related to political affairs but extendable to business, sustainability, green behaviour and various other spheres.

Globalization has resulted in various kinds of disordering and reordering of business objectives and practices. Modern day consumers have new needs and lifestyle orientations. The flip side is that increased global operations have precipitated newer challenges for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). But for managing globalization, isolationism is not the answer (Altman, 2007). Isolationism cannot be expected to have reciprocative effects of globalization. In fact, it may be in dispute with interests of many social stakeholders.

Responsible businesses have reoriented their CSR initiatives towards environmental and social stewardship. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are the more recent strategic tools that provide a more focussed mandate to address sustainability issues emerging from increased production, consumption and disposal. In the times of vulnerabilities and disruption, there is an increasing emphasis on developing CSR as a horizontal enabler of SDGs.

Fashion & textile industry is the second most polluting industry globally. Fast fashion is having catastrophic impacts on the environment. Due to the massive size and magnitude of the global fashion & textile industry (USD 920 billion in 2018 and projected to grow to USD 1,230 billion by 2024), it becomes important to examine dimensions of CSR, in reference to SDGs in this sector. The fashion & textile industry is one of the most globally integrated. Sourcing, production, supply chain management, market development and retailing are all dependent on integration and collaboration amongst various business entities and regulatory bodies across national boundaries. Isolationism may result in disorientations in the enabling environments of this industry.

As sustainability is going to be the most important directive in coming future, the study aims to examine the cohesiveness between the current CSR initiatives of the fashion & textile sector and the prescribed SDGs. The study will further investigate if the instantaneous momentum of isolationism could cultivate multifaceted challenges for the horizontal integration of CSR in SDGs; and if yes, what will be the nature of these challenges?


Over the last three decades, corporate social responsibility (CSR) has evolved significantly as a worldwide trend in both the management literature and the modern economy. However, it is still at its infancy stage in the developing countries like Malaysia. It is more prevalent in the coffee industry, due to the challenges that this industry encounters. In addition, not much information is available in the academic literature in order to understand these challenges that this industry is facing in performing CSR. Therefore, this chapter aims to highlight the main challenges that the coffee franchise industry faces in incorporating the activities of CSR in their operations. Lack of top management support, performing CSR in isolation, and lack of capable employees to do CSR are some of the major challenges. This chapter is expected to advance the knowledge about CSR practices and challenges in the Malaysian context.


This chapter outlines a unique collaboration between industry, academia and education to embed sustainability across the hairdressing sector. The chapter is in two parts with the first part written by Dr Denise Baden from the academic perspective. Dr Baden begins by outlining why the hairdressing sector is especially important to engage with respect to sustainability. Three projects run by the Southampton Business School, University of Southampton, and funded by the Economics and Social Research Council (ESRC) are then described. Lynda Whitehorn then expands upon the context of hairdressing practice, training and education from the perspective of Vocational Training Charitable Trust (VTCT) – a specialist awarding organisation which offers vocational and technical qualifications in a variety of service sectors, including hairdressing and barbering. In the process, we show how the collaboration between academia, industry and education enabled sustainable practice to become embedded across the sector.

Cover of CSR in an age of Isolationism
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Developments in Corporate Governance and Responsibility
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Emerald Publishing Limited
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