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Article
Publication date: 13 May 2021

Enrico Fontana, Mark Heuer and Lisa Koep

The purpose of this paper is to shed new light on the way the cross-sector collaboration (CSC) process can foster gender-focused sustainability initiatives to improve…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to shed new light on the way the cross-sector collaboration (CSC) process can foster gender-focused sustainability initiatives to improve female workers’ conditions in developing countries. The study does so by introducing and examining the influence of nonprofit boundary work during the CSC process.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is based on thirty-four interviews and qualitative fieldwork. It draws on a case analysis of a regional CSC between multiple organizations operating locally in the apparel industry of Bangladesh, a developing country.

Findings

Scaffolding work in the CSC formation stage – performed by development agency implementers who construe boundaries – and sensitization work in the CSC implementation stage – performed by a non-governmental organization (NGO) implementers who blur and expand boundaries – emerge as two conceptual categories of nonprofit boundary work. This allows NGO implementers to identify and enable the agency of sustainability envoys or socially privileged individuals who capitalize on their social credentials to support female workers in the factory and in the community.

Originality/value

The study offers novel insights into the CSC process. It contributes to the CSC literature and the literature on boundary work, with a focus on gender-focused sustainability initiatives for female workers in developing countries.

Details

Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, vol. 12 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-8021

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 26 August 2020

Matthias Damert, Lisa Koep, Edeltraud Guenther and Jonathan Morris

The purpose of this study is to examine how the pressures from stakeholders located in company's country of origin and level of internationalization of the company…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to examine how the pressures from stakeholders located in company's country of origin and level of internationalization of the company influence the implementation of socially responsible supply chain management (SR-SCM) practices.

Design/methodology/approach

To assess this level of influence, an SR-SCM performance index is developed by building on existing theoretical frameworks and using secondary data from ThomsonReuters’ WorldScope and ASSET4 databases to capture responsible supply chain actions categorized in communication, compliance and supplier development strategies. The analysis is based on 1,252 international companies from diverse countries and sectors between 2007 and 2016.

Findings

The effectiveness of stakeholder pressures in facilitating the adoption of socially responsible practices varies greatly with regard to the strategic element of SR-SCM and the type stakeholders considered. Companies that are more internationalized tend to adopt a greater number of SR-SCM practices, whereas home country stakeholders are of diminishing relevance with the increasing internationalization of a company.

Practical implications

Governments in companies’ countries of origin should ensure that social issues in supply chains are adequately covered by regulations. Ideally, laws should not only cover firms’ domestic operations but also their global activities.

Social implications

Citizens should be given the opportunities to raise their voice and publicly express their disagreement with business misconduct and non-compliance. Apart from that, the role of workers’ associations and investors in the social sustainability debate should be strengthened.

Originality/value

This study contributes to SR-SCM theory development by operationalizing existing conceptual frameworks, showing how domestic stakeholders shape SR-SCM performance and analyzing whether the influence of certain stakeholder groups diminishes or increases when a company is more globally-oriented in its operations.

Details

Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, vol. 12 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-8021

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 3 April 2017

Lisa Koep

The purpose of this paper is to investigate industry expert discourses on aspirational corporate social responsibility (CSR) communication. Analysing CSR managers’ and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate industry expert discourses on aspirational corporate social responsibility (CSR) communication. Analysing CSR managers’ and communication consultants’ talk about aspirational talk as constitutive of aspirational CSR communication, the data provide valuable insights into the dominant discourses, and draw attention to the manifold elements in the process of aspirational CSR communication.

Design/methodology/approach

Data gathered during 11 in-depth, qualitative interviews with food industry experts in CSR and CSR communication roles in Ireland, the UK and the USA are studied.

Findings

The analysis of industry expert discourses suggests that communicating CSR, and in particular the communication of CSR aspirations, is a source of tensions and ambiguity for organisational members. It is evident that aspirational talk acts as a “commitment and alignment device”, raising the bar for the organisation by encouraging enhanced performance and ensuring a competitive differentiation – and thus revealing a performative character. However, it is also shown that industry experts favour action over talk and consider verification crucial to reduce reputational risk. The challenge ahead will be to encourage organisations to embrace aspirational talk in the age of CSR professionalisation and standardisation to ensure incremental and continual CSR improvements.

Practical implications

The research findings suggest that aspirational talk is a useful resource for organisations to transition towards becoming more responsible businesses. Rather than censoring aspirational talk to prevent scepticism by some, managers rely on robust auditing and verification systems to provide proof of achievement over time.

Originality/value

The study provides data on the topic of aspirational talk, where there has been much theory development, but limited empirical evidence. It does so in the context of the food industry, an industry manifestly to the forefront in the sustainability/CSR agenda.

Details

Corporate Communications: An International Journal, vol. 22 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1356-3289

Keywords

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