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Corporate Governance in the Debate on CSR and Ethics: Sensemaking of Social Issues in Management by Authorities and CEOs

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  • Y. FASSIN

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  • A. VAN ROSSEM
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    Abstract

    Research Question/Issue: The aim of the present exploratory cognitive study is to uncover how opinion leaders, i.e. CEOs and other authorities in the domain of social issues in management, understand and differentiate the various concepts pertaining to corporate governance, CSR and business ethics. The present study with the Repertory Grid Technique (RGT) extends the sensemaking analysis, to the whole spectrum of social issues in management. For this research 41 RGT interviews were conducted in Belgium with top experts and CEOs of the Belgian economy and civil society. Research Findings/Insights: Both, authorities and CEOs pragmatically and rather clearly differentiate the various concepts related to corporate governance, CSR and business ethics. Our findings partially reject the confusion in terminology noticed in recent academic literature and in corporate communication, emphasizing increased vagueness and overlapping of the concepts around corporate governance, CSR and business ethics. Theoretical/Academic Implications : While CSR is seen as the best candidate for an umbrella term, no unified paradigm has yet be achieved in the business and society field. Three basic concepts of corporate responsibility, corporate governance and business ethics emerge as being complementary. Corporate governance has acquired an important place in the hierarchy of business and society concepts. Practitioner/Policy Implications: Corporations cannot restrict their actions and communication regarding social issues in management to one single domain. Several complementary issues have to be addressed simultaneously. This combined multi-dimensional approach will result in mutual reinforcements of the message.

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    File URL: http://www.feb.ugent.be/nl/Ondz/wp/Papers/wp_10_638.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    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 10/638.

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    Length: 36 pages
    Date of creation: Jan 2010
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:rug:rugwps:10/638

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    Related research

    Keywords: Corporate governance; corporate social responsibility; business ethics; sensemaking; cognition; Repertory Grid Technique; CEO; opinion leaders;

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    1. Lutgart Van den Berghe & C´┐Żline Louche, 2005. "The Link Between Corporate Governance and Corporate Social Responsibility in Insurance," The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance - Issues and Practice, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 30(3), pages 425-442, July.
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