Reimagining the Corporation: Narratives of Corporate Social Responsibility
This thesis evaluates standard setting initiatives in corporate social responsibility or `CSR' engagements. Chapter 1 establishes how standard setting initiatives are developed through narratives of CSR. In chapter 2, the thesis unpacks hard and soft CSR which is seen as the key step to unlock the possibilities of standard setting. By showing that there is a nexus between hard and soft CSR, the regulatory divide is bridged. From here, CSR is seen to consist of internal and external narratives. When the narratives merge, standard setting can evolve in a coherent and meaningful way. In developing internal narratives, chapters 3 and 4 evaluate the normative-theoretical underpinnings of the corporation and examine how it can sustain the notion of the socially responsible corporation. The corporation is bounded by institutional roots, political limitations and legal parameters. The theoretical make up of the corporation, informed by historical insight, shows that the corporation is a real institution, capable of absorbing values from the community within which it operates and provides something back as a community member. External narratives are then discussed in chapters 5 and 6 in order to create a framework for the CSR actors to work together. Standards tend to be anchored within various brackets, including state borders and beyond, between public and private notions of authority as well as positive and negative aspects of responsibility. The rule of law holds the key towards providing legitimacy to these standards. Ultimately, chapter 7 looks at convergence in standards through the rigours of good decision making. A call for procedural integration is made through an administrative base which will be able to draw out a common language between the actors. Calibrating the internal and external narratives reveals the evolving nature of standards which attempt to reimagine the corporation as an institution of responsibility.
- Theses