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Dealing With Uncertainties When Governing CSR Policies

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  • J. LEPOUTRE
  • N. A. DENTCHEV

    ()

  • A. HEENE

    ()

Abstract

It is by now widely accepted that the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) requires a business engagement that goes beyond its mere economic and legal obligations. Rather, it is associated with the adage that businesses take the broader social and environmental effects of their actions into account on a voluntary basis. From a government’s perspective, however, relying on business’s voluntary initiative for dealing with society’s environmental and social objectives imposes a considerable challenge. Indeed, policymakers cannot rely on unilateral command-and-controlling policies as far as the voluntary dimensions of CSR are concerned, which leaves them with three types of uncertainty. First, the many meanings and interpretations on the content of CSR result in substantive uncertainty. Second, governments face strategic uncertainty about whether companies will voluntarily take up their responsibilities and how far. Third, the various institutional backgrounds that businesses and governments have result in institutional uncertainty on how the interaction and change processes between them will evolve. Borrowing from the New Governance public policy paradigm, we discuss these uncertainties and propose strategies for their management. This paper demonstrates that there are meaningful, and even necessary courses of governmental action to further the voluntary dimensions of CSR.

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Paper provided by Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration in its series Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium with number 05/337.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2005
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Handle: RePEc:rug:rugwps:05/337

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Cited by:
  1. Reinhard Steurer, 2010. "The role of governments in corporate social responsibility: characterising public policies on CSR in Europe," Policy Sciences, Springer, vol. 43(1), pages 49-72, March.
  2. M. Vanhoucke & B. Maenhout, 2005. "Characterisation and Generation of Nurse Scheduling Problem Instances," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 05/339, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
  3. Ooghe, H. & Spaenjers, C. & Pieter vandermoere, 2005. "Business failure prediction: simple-intuitive models versus statistical models," Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School Working Paper Series 2005-22, Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School.
  4. J. Lepoutre & N. A. Dentchev & A. Heene, 2005. "Dealing With Uncertainties When Governing CSR Policies," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 05/337, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
  5. Timo Busch & Volker Hoffmann, 2009. "Ecology-Driven Real Options: An Investment Framework for Incorporating Uncertainties in the Context of the Natural Environment," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 90(2), pages 295-310, December.

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