Principles and Strategies to Balance Ethical, Social and Environmental Concerns with Corporate Requirements: Volume 12

Table of contents

(19 chapters)
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List of Contributors

Pages vii-viii
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Introduction

Pages xiii-xv

We are delighted to present this collective work committed to address the challenges of balancing social and environmental concerns with corporate requirements, as part of the Advances in Sustainability and Environmental Justice Series. This volume, co-edited by Dr. Liam Leonard and Dr. Maria Alejandra Gonzalez-Perez, is the second of this series dedicated to Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) within the scope of International Business.

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Purpose – This chapter provides an overview of four aspects of corporate life which frame the wider parameters of corporate social responsibility (CSR): cause marketing and innovation versus corporate crime and environmental crime. By examining the positive and negative approaches of the corporate sector, this chapter highlights the significance of CSR, the success that emerges from the socially responsible firm and the problems that can emerge if the corporate is deviant in its practices.Design/methodology/approach – This chapter is based on a literature review and analysis of three aspects in corporate life: cause marketing, white-collar crime and environmental crime.Findings – This chapter provides a basis for perceiving corporate responsibility in three areas – marketing, fraud and pollution – all of which have become part of the contemporary corporate and social milieu.Practical implications – This chapter provides an outline of key elements in corporate engagement with cause marketing, white-collar crime and environmental crime, allowing for an extensive overview of the frameworks surrounding corporate behaviour.Originality/value of chapter – This chapter provides a multi-layered analysis of CSR issues from both positive and negative perspectives to provide a better understanding of the extent of the impact of corporate behaviour.

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Purpose – The chapter aims to provide a descriptive and analytical conceptual framework of critical approaches to globalisation and summarises the main debates in the area.Design/methodology/approach – This chapter is based on an extensive literature review.Findings – This chapter summarises diverse critical approaches to globalisation from a multi-disciplinary perspective. It presents theories explaining the negative consequences of globalisation on working opportunities, conditions and relations, and the negative consequences of globalisation at the economic, cultural, social and political level (particularly the perceived decline in state influence).Practical implications – This chapter provides an overview on the debates on globalisation. This chapter could contribute discussions at the classroom level, and different managerial learning circles.Originality/value of chapter – This chapter contributes teaching material for international business, trade and development, and corporate social responsibility

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Purpose of this chapter – The chapter analyzes the link between cultural factors, corporate reputation, and social responsibility, considering the case of emerging markets MNEs.Design/methodology/approach – On data provided by the Reputation Institute, applied to the cultural clusters of Europe, we analyze, using multivariate linear regression, whether the inclusion of cultural dimensions as femininity and hedonism has a significant influence on corporate reputation, as one tends to strengthen corporate social responsibility, while the other is more connected with customer focus.Findings – Our conclusions point to the fact that, despite its many cultural clusters, Europe should be regarded, from the point of view of multinationals, as a homogenous region, where one corporate social responsibility strategy may well suit all markets.Research limitations/implications – Including inside data from multinationals may be a sound continuation of the study.Practical implications – The chapter guides multinationals into using cultural indexes when assessing the impact of their actions on their reputation, as perceived by consumers.Social implications – The findings influence CSR, as a component of reputation, making corporations rethink their CSR policies in the light of culture-mediated perceptions.Originality/value of chapter – The chapter looks at reputation and CSR from a novel perspective, that of cultural factors, and their impact on consumer perception.

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Purpose – The aim of this chapter is to explore the existing relation between business activity and sustainability in Base of the Pyramid (BoP) contexts in order to shed light on the role that the business sector may have in poverty alleviation.Design/methodology/approach – Starting with a thorough review of the evolution of the BoP theory, the chapter moves on to critically examine corporate social responsibility (CSR) in poverty contexts, and suggests the adoption of a more comprehensive interpretation of CSR that fully incorporates sustainability – environmentally, economically, and socially – into business operation. Consecutively, the notion of “sustainable enterprise” (Hart, 2010) as an upgraded type of corporation that embraces sustainable development is explored, and is related to the BoP business models known as inclusive businesses (IB). Case study experiences from Latin America (i.e., Colombia) are used to exemplify IB implementation.Findings – The chapter highlights the relevance of IB as sustainable enterprises with the potential of significantly improving the living conditions for most impoverished communities, while being economically profitable and environmentally viable. From a sustainability viewpoint, the greatest challenge is found to be the achievement of a balance between a greater consumption and production at the BoP and the limited environmental capacity of the earth.Originality/value of chapter – Both, BoP and IB are two notions of very recent appearance within business–society literature, making this chapter a valuable contribution for the advancement of scholarly work in the field.

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Purpose – This study provides insight on how Sub-Sahara African (SSA) countries can ameliorate the impact of environmental pollution in the face of increasing inflow of multinational corporations (MNCs).Design/methodology/approach – An analytical model describing the role of institutions in reducing the environmental impact of MNCs was formulated and analysed for a sample of 43 SSA countries (1996–2010) using descriptive and the System Generalised Method of Moments techniques.Findings – It was found that the ‘tragedy’ of environmental pollution can be ‘managed’ if there are strong institutional framework especially regulatory quality and government effectiveness that will drive environmental policies and make MNCs to comply to the tenets of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in host countries. The study also established that the environmental hazards in the previous year will occur in the current year, but with strong institutions in place, it will be at a decreasing rate. How increase in trade, inflow of MNCs and population growth affect the current extent of environmental pollution was underscored.Research limitation – Aggregated data on the variables were utilised, and thus the results were dependent on the reliability of the data. Examining how MNCs respond to CSR with respect to environmental issues in SSA can be taken up in future studies using micro-data. This will complement this study and further establish the impact of MNCs activities on the environment in SSA.Originality/value of chapter – The relevance of institutions in regulating the behaviours of MNCs with regards to environmental pollution in SSA was emphasised.

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Purpose – The purpose of this research is to compare trends, drivers, and best sustainable development (SD) practices in the Nordic region and California, USA.Design/methodology/approach – Four research propositions are explored: (1) SD is driven by governmental, economic, and social/cultural influences. (2) Social democracy and mixed economies in the Nordic region influence SD differently than the free market system of the United States. (3) The profit-centered, short-term view in the United States impacts SD differently than the longer-term approach in the Nordic region. (4) The egalitarian culture in the Nordic region influences SD differently than the entrepreneurial culture in the United States. The study incorporates a comprehensive literature review, 34 field interviews and research observations in the United States and the Nordic region.Findings – California and the Nordics have similar market economies where SD is largely driven by private sector; however, the role of government more directly influences SD in the Nordic region. Also, the profit-centered, entrepreneurial view of the United States drives innovation in SD based on short-term profitability gains, which ultimately hinders long-term solutions. Alternatively, the egalitarian culture in the Nordic region manifests in more focused and quicker adoption of SD policies. Lastly, the Nordics have a broad range of SD goals and a competitive advantage in key SD technologies. Conversely, California pursues a large variety of technologies without clearly defined goals that tend to be less effective than the Nordic countries.Originality/value of chapter – The chapter identified similarities and differences in SD trends, best practices, policies, and attitudes: California compared to Nordic countries.

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Purpose – Because businesses conducting e-commerce are often able to set up off-shore to avoid regulation, taxation, and other aspects of corporate responsibility, the developed-developing divide which tends to inform World Trade Organization (WTO) policies is especially an impediment to future global e-commerce. This chapter explores the particular accountability challenges represented by WTO e-commerce policies.Design/methodology/approach – The framework of inquiry focuses on a policy research study of relevant WTO e-commerce policy documents, especially the ones related to the negotiations under the WTO Work Program on Electronic Commerce and the GATS Agreement.Findings – The virtual nature of e-commerce interactions means that businesses are often able to circumvent the national boundaries and controls of conventional commerce. Because of this, the WTO and its e-commerce policy are crucial to the responsible and accountable development of future global e-commerce. Such policies need to be significantly improved as a matter of urgency to overcome current omissions and inadequacies.Research implications – Accountability gaps within WTO’s e-commerce policies provide a basis for companies from developed countries to set up off-shore to avoid their corporate social responsibilities. A constructive critique of international agency policy documents is able to provide a basis for recommending change and improvement to the overall WTO framework.Practical and social implications – Companies should profess genuine rather than merely surface commitment to global as well as local corporate social responsibilities. Likewise the WTO should also aim to practice deep rather than “shallow” accountability by aiming to rectify omissions and inequities in its e-commerce policies.

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Purpose – To examine corporate social responsibility in cyberspace within the context of the experience of Google Corporation in China in order to provide greater understanding of the complexities that corporations encounter when operating across cyber borders.Design/methodology/approach – The research is grounded in the theoretical debate: The Internet as democratic and universal space versus the Internet as autocratic and sovereign space. Historical analysis is drawn from the case of Google Corporation in China.Findings – Freedom in cyberspace is more likely to be advanced universally with a collective commitment to corporate social responsibility in the information technology sector.Research limitations/implications – The study provides insights into the appropriate balance between the ethical responsibilities of the firm and its need to compete and survive in the highly competitive information age.Originality/value of chapter – The case of Google Corporation in China offers a venue for further discussion on the ethical role of transnational information technology corporations and their improvements in fostering human rights and free enterprise in cyberspace.

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Purpose – To explore the ethical challenges, the financial crisis afflicting Greece and most of the European South creates for MNCs. Emphasis is placed on using human resource management (HRM) as the principle prism to identify the role of employees as organizational members and individuals within the transforming environment.Design/methodology – The chapter follows an exploratory inquisitive path, attempting to elicit information and evidence from theoretical and practical sources, bringing together three primary areas: CSR and business ethics, HRM, and contextual factors, moderated by the financial crisis. The key driver is to shed light in a related narrowly searched field, paving the way for future investigations.Findings – The results from the critical analysis indicate substantial overlap between the examined themes, indicating considerably scope for academics and practitioners to pursue more specific work on field.Research implications/limitations – The chapter is predominantly exploratory in nature, endeavouring to seam together into a meaningful platform several subtle issues and introduce a novel context as the focal point. The innate limitation is the lack of empirical substantiation which could be picked up in ensuing researches, based on the premises stemming from this discourse.Originality/value of chapter – The chapter offers a novel contextualization for academics and practitioners within the field of CSR, business ethics and HRM, which is particularly relevant given the permeating fluidity in the extant economic and business environment. Decision and policy-making on organizational and institutional level can also gain from the insights proposed, and through continued research to effectively form policies in the near future.

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Purpose – To integrate agency and stakeholder theories with the Jacobs Value Distinction (JVD) thus presenting a micro and macro reconsideration of the JVD for a finer grained perception of the values underpinning corporate and global governance initiatives.Design/methodology/approach – By extrapolating the JVD – commercial and guardian – this chapter examines the roots of moral malaise in the modern global firm. Examples and a theoretical rationale are given for identifying why and how ethical – moral problems continue to occur.Findings – A metaphorical maelstrom is discernible in the global business environment and more turmoil, especially in balancing business values, is emerging for the managers of today’s corporations. Application of the JVD predicts that under certain conditions the hybrid nature of the firm causes managers and shareholders to engage in morally risky behaviour. In further exploring the value basis of the 10 principles of the United Nations (UN) Global Compact, it is found that similar values conflict, which intensifies the need for international business managers to beware the moral risks.Research implications – This viewpoint draws upon sound theoretical analysis and future studies should collate case analysis and practitioner interview data to further consolidate the findings. The viewpoint gives managers a useful tool for identifying conflicts of values underlying decisions and forms the basis for continuous improvement in the context of operational and strategic actions in international business.Originality/value of chapter – The integration of the JVD with agency and stakeholder theories is new and critique of the 10 principles of the UN Global Compact via the JVD has not happened previously.

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Karina A. Branum is an MBA Student of Entrepreneurship and Management/Organizational Behavior at Loyola Marymount University (Los Angeles, California). She received her Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa in Honolulu, Hawai’i in 2006. Following her undergraduate work, she worked as an Accounting Analyst in the entertainment industry before deciding to obtain her MBA. Upon receiving her MBA, she plans on pursuing a career with a sustainable business/organization and potentially starting a business in the field of water conservation and management. Research interests include further examination of the relationship between sustainable technology and business practices and profitability.

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DOI
10.1108/S2051-5030(2013)12
Publication date
Book series
Advances in Sustainability and Environmental Justice
Editors
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
ISBN
978-1-78190-627-9
Book series ISSN
2051-5030