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Article
Publication date: 7 June 2021

Stephen Brammer, Giulio Nardella and Irina Surdu

This paper aims to put forward a definition of corporate social irresponsibility (CSI) which is relevant to the study of complex organizations and in particular, the…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to put forward a definition of corporate social irresponsibility (CSI) which is relevant to the study of complex organizations and in particular, the multinational enterprise (MNE). This paper then offers a framework as a foundation to discuss the institutional complexity of CSI to aid international business (IB) scholars, practitioners and policymakers achieve a clearer understanding of the mechanisms that may penalize and subsequently deter MNE irresponsibility.

Design/methodology/approach

In presenting the approaches taken by social regulation researchers and IB policy scholars to understand MNE irresponsibility, this paper proposes a definition of CSI and explicates the various mechanisms associated with deterring MNEs from behaving irresponsibly.

Findings

Therefore, how can MNEs be deterred from behaving irresponsibly? To further the research agenda concerning CSI in IB, far less common are a definition of CSI relevant to the complex IB context; and a framework that explicates both the legal and social components of CSI, particularly as they unfold in a complex, diverse and often divergent institutional landscape. Overcoming these two primary obstacles is important because when complexities associated with CSI emerge, researchers need to be able to ascertain and expound upon what they are observing so that comparisons can be made and more MNE CSI research can be accrued over time.

Research limitations/implications

To help the development of future research, we offered a more precise definition of CSI, one which is more relevant to the study of the MNE and the complex contemporary IB environment. By embracing complexities, this paper also outlines an institutional complexity approach, one which highlights both the role of formal and informal regulatory institutions. Though IB has traditionally focused on the role of formal regulation, there is much more to be unearthed by exploring the additional and concurrent influence of social regulatory institutions.

Practical implications

There is a high level of heterogeneity in the motivations and modes used by MNEs to enter international markets, which likely influence efforts made by these firms to adapt to different types of formal and social institutional pressures. When firms invest significantly in a market, they have a greater economic dependence in that market and institutions have a greater opportunity to exert pressures. For instance, foreign direct investment requires a higher level of (longer-term) commitment, transfer of capital, exchange of expertise and learning, meaning that firms depend much more on local authorities to perform in the market and accomplish their goals.

Social implications

Enabled by new technologies and, particularly, social media platforms, stakeholders can now engage in organized forms of regulatory activities, as is evident in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, black lives matter and gender equality social activist movements. Through prominent collective actions, the impacts of globally organized social movements may be increasingly non-location bound, placing MNE managers at the heart of new challenges and opportunities to engage with global stakeholders. Infomediaries such as the press, have always been of historical importance, due to their role in shaping stakeholder expectations and opinions of the firm and thus, the reputation and legitimacy of that firm.

Originality/value

This study enriches the understanding of what CSI is, why we are likely to observe it in practice and how it affects MNEs. This paper offers a definition of CSI that is sufficiently nuanced to capture the complexity of the contemporary IB environment, as well as a framework that, this paper proposes, presents a clearer understanding of the institutional mechanisms that may deter MNEs from behaving irresponsibly. By encouraging scholars to examine the institutional complexity of MNE CSI, the paper hopes to contribute toward building a bridge which connects the IB policy and social regulation research streams.

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 9 December 2021

Giulia Leoni, Alessandro Lai, Riccardo Stacchezzini, Ileana Steccolini, Stephen Brammer, Martina Linnenluecke and Istemi Demirag

This paper introduces the second part of a AAAJ special issue on accounting, accountability and management during the COVID-19 emergency. The authors analyse the themes…

4196

Abstract

Purpose

This paper introduces the second part of a AAAJ special issue on accounting, accountability and management during the COVID-19 emergency. The authors analyse the themes that emerge from the second part of the special issue, which allows us to identify the diverse accounting and accountability practices across different geographical and organisational contexts. The authors also provide an overall picture of the contributions of the special issue, with insights into avenues of future research.

Design/methodology/approach

Building on the first part of the AAAJ special issue, the paper draws together and identifies additional emerging themes related to research into the COVID-19 pandemic and how it impacts accounting, accountability and management practices. The authors reflect on the contributions of the special issue to the interdisciplinary accounting research project.

Findings

The authors identify two macro-themes and outline their contributions to the accounting literature. The first deals with the changes and dangers of accounting and accountability practices during the pandemic. The second considers accountability practices in a broader sense, including reporting, disclosure and rhetorical practices in the management of COVID-19.

Practical implications

The paper shows the pervasive role of accounting and accountability in the unprecedented and indiscriminate health crisis of COVID-19. It highlights the important role of special issues in producing timely research that responds to unfolding events.

Originality/value

This paper contributes to current debates on the roles of accounting and accountability during COVID-19 by drawing together the themes of the special issue and identifying future interdisciplinary accounting research on the pandemic's aftermath.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 35 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 13 July 2021

Giulia Leoni, Alessandro Lai, Riccardo Stacchezzini, Ileana Steccolini, Stephen Brammer, Martina Linnenluecke and Istemi Demirag

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the themes emerging from the first studies exploring accounting, accountability and management practices during the COVID-19…

12825

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the themes emerging from the first studies exploring accounting, accountability and management practices during the COVID-19 pandemic and coming from a diversity of experiences, across countries, organizations and individuals. In so doing, the paper gives an overview of the most recent findings about the role of accounting and accountability in times of crisis that are hosted in this special issue of Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal (AAAJ).

Design/methodology/approach

The paper draws together and identifies emerging themes related to the current COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts on accounting, accountability and management practices and considers how the studies in this issue extend one’s knowledge of accounting and contribute to accounting research.

Findings

Three emerging themes are drawn and their contribution to accounting scholarship is discussed. The first theme deals with the role of accounting and numbers in supporting governmental responses to COVID-19. The second theme considers accounting practices used to make exceptional decisions at the organizational level in times of crisis. The third theme addresses a relevant frontier of research into accounting and inequalities.

Practical implications

In considering the diverse contributions of this special issue, the paper points out how uncertainty and change can impact the design, use and understanding of accounting, management and accountability practices and can be accepted by scholars and practitioners as part of such practices.

Originality/value

This paper provides a timely and comprehensive picture of the first reflections and research findings on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on one’s interpretation of accounting, accountability and management practices.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 34 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 4 March 2021

Layla Branicki, Bridgette Sullivan-Taylor and Stephen Brammer

Drawing on Wendt’s (1995, 1999) thin constructivist approach to international relations this paper aims to critically examine how the measures taken by the Australian…

1654

Abstract

Purpose

Drawing on Wendt’s (1995, 1999) thin constructivist approach to international relations this paper aims to critically examine how the measures taken by the Australian Government to protect the country from coronavirus (COVID-19) have prompted politicians and opinion-makers to mobilize globalizing and de-globalizing discourses towards divergent conceptualizations of national resilience.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper examines 172 Australian political and media articles, which focus on both COVID-19 and globalization/de-globalization published between February and June 2020. The data were imported to NVivo to enable in-depth thematic analysis.

Findings

The paper develops the concept of crisis protectionism to explain how COVID-19 has been mobilized in discourses aimed at accelerating selective de-globalization in Australia. Selective de-globalization is inductively theorized as involving material structures (i.e. border closures), ideational structures (i.e. national identity) and intersubjectivities (i.e. pre-existing inter-country antagonisms).

Research limitations/implications

The paper relies upon publicly available data about Australian discourses that relate to a unique globally disrupting extreme event.

Practical implications

Crisis protectionism and selective de-globalization are important to multinational enterprises (MNE) that operate in essential industry sectors (e.g. medical supply firms), rely upon open borders (e.g. the university sector) and for MNEs entering/operating in a host country experiencing antagonistic relationships with their home country.

Originality/value

The paper extends Witt’s (2019) political theorization of de-globalization towards a socialized theory of de-globalization. By rejecting liberal and realist explanations of the relationship between COVID-19 and de-globalization, this study highlights the importance and endogeneity of non-market risks and non-economic logic to international business and MNE strategy.

Details

critical perspectives on international business, vol. 17 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1742-2043

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 August 2005

Reviews the latest management developments across the globe and pinpoints practical implications from cutting‐edge research and case studies.

5174

Abstract

Purpose

Reviews the latest management developments across the globe and pinpoints practical implications from cutting‐edge research and case studies.

Design/methodology/approach

Scans the top 400 management publications in the world to identify the most topical issues and latest concepts. These are presented in an easy‐to‐digest briefing of no more than 1,500 words.

Findings

We're often told that a company's most valuable asset is its workforce. Few would argue with that. But with trust in large organizations sinking ever lower, then surely a good reputation comes a pretty close second. Indeed, in the aftermath of Enron, WorldCom and other high‐profile scandals, a good reputation has never been more important.

Practical implications

Provides strategic insights and practical thinking that have influenced some of the world's leading organizations.

Originality/value

The briefing saves busy executives and researchers hours of reading time by selecting only the very best, most pertinent information and presenting it in a condensed and easy‐to‐digest format.

Details

Strategic Direction, vol. 21 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0258-0543

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 22 March 2011

Stephen Brammer and Helen Walker

Public bodies are being encouraged to procure sustainably, to reduce their social and environmental footprint and in order to stimulate sustainability in the private…

20560

Abstract

Purpose

Public bodies are being encouraged to procure sustainably, to reduce their social and environmental footprint and in order to stimulate sustainability in the private sector. However, little is known about how public sector organisations internationally are responding to this encouragement or of the conditions that are most conducive to sustainable procurement (SP). The purpose of this paper is to address these gaps in our knowledge so as to inform policy development at the government and organisational levels.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors report the findings of a survey of SP practices within a sample of over 280 public procurement practitioners from 20 countries and with collective responsibility for expenditure totalling $45bn p.a.

Findings

The authors' analysis shows that some SP practices are evident in public sector procurement practice and that the extent and nature of SP practices varies significantly across regions. In addition, the authors highlight the main facilitators of, and barriers to, engagement with SP and investigate their importance for engagement with particular dimensions of SP.

Research limitations/implications

Survey respondents are volunteers and may to some degree be more interested in, or engaged with, SP than other public sector organisations. The analysis is cross‐sectional and therefore provides only a snapshot of SP practice in the public sector organisations studied.

Practical implications

The paper identifies how policy and practice in SP vary across regions, providing practical insights into whether and how government policies are being implemented around the world.

Originality/value

The paper provides the first systematic and comprehensive insight into how public bodies are implementing SP internationally and of the major situational factors that are shaping engagement with SP. The authors evaluate the current effectiveness of policy initiatives regarding SP and highlight the organisational catalysts and inhibitors of greater involvement in SP.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 31 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 19 April 2013

Stefan Hoejmose, Stephen Brammer and Andrew Millington

This paper aims to explore the effect of business strategy on socially responsible supply chain management (SR‐SCM).

6706

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore the effect of business strategy on socially responsible supply chain management (SR‐SCM).

Design/methodology/approach

This study draws on data from 178 UK‐based companies, and 340 buyer‐supplier relationships. A novel data collection approach is used, which minimizes social desirability and common methods bias, to capture socially responsible supply chain management. The data are analysed through a set of OLS regressions.

Findings

Business strategies significantly influence socially responsible supply chain management. Low‐cost producers largely neglect their social responsibilities in the supply chain. In contrast, firms pursuing differentiation strategies are considerably more engaged with these issues, partly because they have better supply chain processes.

Practical implications

Practitioners should carefully consider the fit between strategic position and level of engagement with SR‐SCM, since our results emphasise the relationship between SR‐SCM and business strategy. Proactive engagement with SR‐SCM, however, also implies sound supply chain processes, which must also be aligned with business strategy. Policy‐makers should consider the low engagement with SR‐SCM of low‐cost producers and the implications for SR‐SCM in cost sensitive and competitive global markets.

Originality/value

This is the first systematic cross‐sectional study of the relationship between business strategy and socially responsible supply chain management (SR‐SCM). These results suggest that there is a clear relationship between the strategic position of the firm and their SR‐SCM practices. These results contribute to the on‐going debate on relationships between strategy and supply chain management, and the emerging debate on the relationships between strategy and SR‐SCM.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 33 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 March 2014

Jacob Hasselbalch, Nives Costa and Alexander Blecken

This paper presents the results of a survey of perceptions on sustainable procurement (SP) in the United Nations (UN). It is the first of its kind to systematically…

Abstract

This paper presents the results of a survey of perceptions on sustainable procurement (SP) in the United Nations (UN). It is the first of its kind to systematically analyse the issue of SP in the UN system. While the UN has a tremendous opportunity to support their objective of sustainable development through SP practices, significant obstacles still block the full implementation of this goal. The purpose of this study is to investigate the barriers to implementing SP practices in the UN system. Based on an online survey that yielded 282 responses, we identified a framework of SP measures and barriers, and conducted a regression analysis to identify underlying correlations. We find significant correlation between good SP practices and low demand, performance measurement and tool barriers.

Details

Journal of Public Procurement, vol. 14 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1535-0118

Article
Publication date: 13 March 2009

Helen Walker and Stephen Brammer

This study aims to investigate sustainable procurement in the UK public sector.

18692

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to investigate sustainable procurement in the UK public sector.

Design/methodology/approach

Sustainable procurement is investigated using a questionnaire that draws on established scales for “purchasing social responsibility”. The survey was administered across the UK public sector, and 106 responses were received from procurement officers.

Findings

Analysis of quantitative and qualitative survey data reveal there is significant variation across public sector agencies in the nature of sustainable procurement practice. Local authorities have a particularly strong emphasis on buying from local and small suppliers relative to other sectors, health looks generally lower in many categories, and education appears to have something of an emphasis on environmental aspects of sustainable procurement. Cost has been found to be the leading barrier to sustainable procurement, and top management support the leading facilitator.

Research limitations/implications

There is likely to be selection bias in the sample, with those practitioners engaging in the sustainability agenda being more likely to have responded to the questionnaire. The United Kingdom government has an objective amongst the leaders in Europe on sustainable procurement by 2009, and early signs are encouraging that progress towards this goal is underway.

Originality/value

This paper provides the first survey of sustainable procurement practices across the UK public sector. It also provides a conceptual framework of influences upon the propensity to engage in sustainable procurement practice.

Details

Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, vol. 14 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-8546

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 7 March 2008

Frederik Dahlmann, Stephen Brammer and Andrew Millington

The purpose of this paper is to provide a snapshot of environmental management practices in the UK and discuss managerial responses to environmental issues in comparison…

2955

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide a snapshot of environmental management practices in the UK and discuss managerial responses to environmental issues in comparison with earlier research.

Design/methodology/approach

A telephone interview survey approach is adopted encompassing both quantitative and qualitative open‐ended questions with a sample of 167 UK companies stratified by firm size and industry sector.

Findings

The majority of firms are undertaking efforts to reduce their environmental impacts, yet economic considerations such as cost and risk reductions and achieving compliance with environmental legislation dominate firms' environmental behaviour. Especially small and medium‐sized firms appear to rely on relatively short‐term planning horizons, which ultimately prevent them from becoming more proactive in their environmental outlook. Comparison with earlier studies suggests that the overall behaviour of firms towards environmental issues remains reactive and economically‐oriented.

Research limitations/implications

Despite the growing salience of many environmental challenges, businesses fail to employ more proactive environmental strategies, suggesting that more has to be done at policy level to stimulate the incentives involved with adopting such an approach.

Originality/value

By using a mixed methods approach the paper aims to overcome problems of respondent identification and social desirability bias.

Details

Management Decision, vol. 46 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0025-1747

Keywords

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