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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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  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:rug:rugwps:05/337
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    Cited by:

    1. Jan Lepoutre & Nikolay Dentchev & Aimé Heene, 2007. "Dealing With Uncertainties When Governing CSR Policies," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 73(4), pages 391-408, July.
    2. Sylvaine Poret, 2014. "Corporate-NGO partnerships in CSR activities: why and how?," Working Papers 2014-04, Alimentation et Sciences Sociales.
    3. 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.
    4. Steen Vallentin, 2015. "Governmentalities of CSR: Danish Government Policy as a Reflection of Political Difference," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 127(1), pages 33-47, March.
    5. H. Ooghe & C. Spaenjers & P. Vandermoere, 2005. "Business failure prediction: simple-intuitive models versus statistical models," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 05/338, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
    6. Reinhard Steurer, 2010. "The role of governments in corporate social responsibility: characterising public policies on CSR in Europe," Policy Sciences, Springer;Society of Policy Sciences, vol. 43(1), pages 49-72, March.
    7. 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.
    8. repec:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2018:i:3:p:834-:d:136549 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Zheng, Qinqin & Luo, Yadong & Maksimov, Vladislav, 2015. "Achieving legitimacy through corporate social responsibility: The case of emerging economy firms," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 389-403.

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