Monday, 20 April 2015

A Systemic View of Corporate Social Responsibility in State-Owned Enterprises

José-Rodrigo Córdoba-Pachón, Raquel Garde-Sánchez (University of Granada), & Manuel-Pedro Rodríguez-Bolívar (University of Granada)

This paper provides a practical approach to develop CSR (corporate social responsibility) oriented practices in a particular type of organisation: The state owned enterprise (SOE).  This type of organisation is very common in countries, though it is often regarded as a privatised company. The notion of the state is still very contentious, as is its role in regulating markets worldwide. The paper uses a sample of Spanish SOE and provides a synergy of ways to consider CSR (as an output or as a process). Using soft systems methodology (SSM), the paper suggests how issues relevant to CSR in SOE can be discerned and mapped in terms of human activity systems. The resulting maps (or conceptual models) of activity can then be used to guide debate among SOE managers and stakeholders. Our work contributes to current debates on how to make CSR more grounded in what companies do or could do. This means companies can use both ‘ideal’ CSR activities as well as those which would be related to their own activities and conceptions about work. The role of researchers and others facilitating CSR would be to synergise these types of activities with the help of easy to convey tools (in this case, systems maps).

Córdoba-Pachón, J-R., Garde-Sánchez, R., & Rodríguez-Bolívar, M-P. (2014). A Systemic View of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs). Knowledge and Process Management, 21(3). 10.1002/kpm.1453

Links: More information about the paper; Open access version (not yet available); published article

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Beyond Choice: ‘Thick’ Volunteering and the Case of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution

By Michelle O'Toole (Robert Gordon University) & Christopher Grey

We usually think of voluntary work as simply a matter of choice. But this detailed study of volunteers at the RNLI shows how it can be embedded in a dense web of social obligations such as family, community and history, with generations of families in particular communities serving in lifeboats. For the crews it is also about the bonds formed by this often very dangerous work, which can be emotionally charged when those rescued are their friends and relations. The paper proposes the concept of ‘thick volunteering’ to explain how voluntary work of this sort may be highly meaningful, and not reducible to individual altruism.

O'Toole, M., & Grey, C. (2015). Beyond Choice: 'Thick' Volunteering and the case of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. Human Relations. (Forthcoming: in-press at time of this post)

Links: Open access version

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Promotional Media Under Convergence: Literary Product Placement

By Chris Hackley and Rungpaka Amy Hackley (Queen Mary, University of London)

We are living in an era of media convergence, in the sense that all media channels are converging around the internet. We can access print newspapers, magazines movies, TV, radio, the internet and music from a hand-held device. As a result of the fragmentation of media audiences across so many channels, traditional spot and display advertising is in decline. In its place, non-advertising promotion is gaining in traction. The third edition of our text, Advertising and Promotion, engages with the topic, while a related blog piece looks at one important manifestation of promotion under convergence: the shift of brand placements into all media, including the written word.

Hackley, C. & Hackley,  R. A. (2014). Advertising and promotion, 3rd Ed. London: Sage.

Links: Advertising and promotion (Book, link to Sage website); Literature's long love affair with product placement (Longer blog post on The Conversation)

Monday, 13 October 2014

Integrated Reporting: Insights, gaps and an agenda for future research

By Charl de Villiers (Universities of Waikato and Pretoria), Leonardo Rinaldi and Jeffrey Unerman 

Integrated reporting has rapidly gained considerable prominence since the formation in 2010 of the International Integrated Reporting Committee (IIRC – subsequently renamed the International Integrated Reporting Council). Although the IIRC has become the dominant body globally in developing policy and practice around integrated reporting, it was not the first mover in this area. Some innovative reporting organisations had individually pioneered such practices. In South Africa, where integrated reporting is a listing requirement, guidelines for integrated reporting were being developed before the formation of the IIRC. Although integrated reporting is a relatively new area, both public policy and organisational practices in this area have developed rapidly. The aim of this paper is to trace the early development and current state-of-play of integrated reporting, and to set out a comprehensive agenda for future research. In addressing this aim the paper draws upon academic analysis and insights provided in the embryonic integrated reporting literature. 

De Villiers, C., Rinaldi, L. and Unerman, J. (2014). Integrated Reporting: Insights, gaps and an agenda for future research. Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 27(7): 1042-1067.

Links: Open access version; published article.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Bringing Secrecy into the Open

By Jana Costas (Europa-Universität Viadrina) and Christopher Grey 

Every day in organizations people keep secrets, ranging from product and strategy plans to data protection to confidential gossip in corridors. In fact, it’s difficult to imagine an organization which has no secrets at all. And keeping secrets can have many effects, for example creating in-groups and out-groups in the workplace. Yet few people have tried to research this fascinating phenomenon. In this paper, we explain why secrecy is important and offer a framework for how to study it, distinguishing between formal and informal secrecy and showing how these affect identity and power relationships in organizations.

Costas, J. and Grey, C. (2014). Bringing Secrecy into the Open: Towards a Theorization of the Social Processes of Organizational Secrecy. Organization Studies 35(10): 1423-1447.
Links: Open access version; published article.

Supermarket supply chain sustainability: what are you buying into?

By Laura Spence and Leonardo Rinaldi

When did you last buy something from a supermarket? Chances are it wasn’t long ago: most retail spending goes through a supermarket checkout. In a recent article, we present a detailed case study of one UK supermarket’s long reach down its supply chain, examining its work on embedding sustainability in the (nine-step) supply chain for lamb. We use the concept of governmentality to examine systematic ways of exercising power and authority, paying attention to the way sustainability is promoted within the company. We explore how senior decision-makers frame and use sustainability accounting to embed sustainability in the supply chain, but find that they reformulate their arguments primarily in economic (rather than social or environmental) terms. Whilst this is unsurprising, the inability of a supermarket publicly committed to sustainability to change the conversation suggests that using ‘sustainability’ to reconfigure business priorities could turn out to be a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Spence, L. and Rinaldi, L. (2014) Governmentality in Accounting and Accountability: A case study of embedding sustainability in a supply chain, Accounting, Organizations and Society. 39(6): 433-452.   

Click to read more about this paper below the cut

Friday, 26 September 2014

Coke Life lands a blow against sugar, but its worthy credentials could still be trouble

By Justin O'Brien, Royal Holloway and Stephanos Anastasiadis, Royal Holloway

Coca Cola has begun carefully rolling out its green-labelled “Life” brand, filling its iconic hour-glass bottles with a new fizzy drink which has nearly a third fewer calories than Coke Original. It is a useful win for anti-sugar campaigners but the strategy brings all kinds of risks for the Atlanta-based soft drinks giant.

Read the full article at