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