Simon Fietze, University of Southern Denmark
Wenzel Matiaske, Helmut-Schmidt-University/
Roland Menges, Technical University Clausthal (Germany)
Trust is the currency that creates markets. This is knowledge of the merchants at the latest since modern markets have emerged along the medieval trade routes. Quality and reliability in the business are also building blocks of trust and the assumption of responsibility for the social and ecological consequences of entrepreneurial activity. Whether the latter should be integrated into social and legal relations and norms in the form of voluntary corporate responsibility, has been the subject of economic discussion since the beginnings of the discipline and since the separation of the spheres of economic and moral action in the Scottish moral economy.
Over the past decades, both supra-national organisations such as the UN and the EU have been focusing on soft law – from the global compact through the AA1000 to the Green Paper of the EU Commission – as well as the national states, to promote social and environmental responsibility for companies in the age of globalisation. These initiatives have led to lively activities and debates both in the business world and in different scientific disciplines. For companies, it has now become a “fashion” to campaign social and ecological responsibility using the concept of “Corporate Social Responsibility”. This commitment has meanwhile led to the fact that CSR activities should partly contribute to value creation instead of aligning them with corporate objectives and values. Such a development leads to the loss of trust and the assumption of responsibility becomes a “fake”.
Against this backdrop, some of the social and economic observers remained sceptical, advocating tougher legal norms or fiscal implications. Finally, lawyers pointed out that (successful) standardisations often develop not only from the “top” but also from the “bottom”, i.e. they emerge from the action routines of the economic actors as emergent effects. However, not only the recent scandals – from the ENRON case to the VW case – raise questions about the effectiveness of co-operative self-commitment as well as external control.
Moreover, corporate responsibility is related to the concept of consumer responsibility. Whereas market-optimists believe that reliable changes in consumption patterns rely on responsible individual action, more market-skeptics warn of a counterproductive “privatisation of sustainability”.
In this light, this special issue will be on theoretical and empirical contributions to the topic “Corporate responsibility: In the dilemma between trust and fake?” from economic, sociological, (economic) historical and legal perspectives. Possible topics are:
- Economic and history of ideas cases and questions of corporate responsibility
- The “pseudo” corporate responsibility
- Organisational and sociological theories and findings on corporate responsibility
- Theory and empiricism of the audit
- Theoretical and empirical studies on consumer responsibility
- Criminal law considerations for corporate actors
- Institutional factors of corporate responsibility
- The trust of social entrepreneurship
This is not an exhaustive list.
Full paper for this special issue of management revue must be submitted by September 30th, 2017. All contributions will be subject to a double-blind review. Papers invited to a ‘revise and resubmit’ are due January 31st, 2018. Please submit your papers electronically via the online submission system using ‘SI Corporate Responsibility’ as article section.