کسب و کار بین المللی با مسئولیت اجتماعی شرکت ها و توسعه پایدار
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|11527||2014||7 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : International Business Review, Volume 19, Issue 2, April 2010, Pages 119–125
While attention to the social and environmental impacts of international business (IB) is not new, the past years have seen renewed interest due to pressing global problems such as climate change and poverty. Multinational enterprises (MNEs) are regarded as playing a specific role given their global influence and activities in which they are confronted with a range of issues, stakeholders and institutional contexts, in both home and host countries. Their potential in being not only part of the problem, but also perhaps part of the solution, is increasingly recognised and has come to the fore in research interest in corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities and sustainable development implications of IB. Systematic study and inclusion in the literature has been lacking, however. This article examines the extent to which both concepts have been addressed in IB research, and identifies some gaps in the body of knowledge and approaches so far. It also introduces recent studies that yield interesting findings, pointing at promising areas for further research.
While attention for the social and environmental impacts of international business is certainly not new, the past years have seen renewed interest due to pressing global problems such as climate change, poverty, human rights violations and HIV/aids. Firms are increasingly called upon to play a positive role, and thus contribute to a more sustainable development. This applies most notably to multinational enterprises (MNEs), given their global influence and activities in which they are confronted with a range of issues, stakeholders and institutional contexts, in both home and host countries. Current interest in the contribution of MNEs to ‘solving’ problems has been preceded by a period in which non-governmental organisations (NGOs) campaigned against the negative implications of globalisation in general and the power of MNEs in this process in particular. Nevertheless, attempts to regulate corporate behaviour have not been very viable overall in view of the large variety of issues involved, with most of them being international in nature, and requiring a much wider consensus and harmonisation of rules and implementation mechanisms than politically and technically feasible. The absence of widespread international regulation on social and environmental issues can be considered as both a problem and an opportunity for MNEs. Regardless of one's view, it means that there is a so-called ‘moral free space’ in which ‘there are no tight prescriptions’ for MNEs, and ‘managers must chart their own course’ (Donaldson, 1996: p. 56). Even if some aspects of business activities are regulated, this usually does not apply everywhere, and rules are likely to differ across countries/regions, as will monitoring and compliance. For MNEs, the ‘modern era of globalisation’ thus entails a balancing act between the components that are part of their ‘regular’ internationalization strategies and broader corporate social responsibility (CSR) considerations. As a result, for example, entry strategies, subsidiary relationships, and the choice of country, product and market portfolios, both upstream and downstream, involve complex decision-making processes in which a variety of trade-offs come to the fore simultaneously: economic, legal, ethical, environmental and social. In that sense, the landscape of IB has changed, and CSR is something to be taken into account explicitly in the study of MNEs, as part of the challenges to globalisation or the quality of global capitalism and its institutions (e.g. Buckley and Ghauri, 2004, Dunning, 2006, Dunning, 2009, Griffith et al., 2008 and Peng et al., 2009). Although a debate on definitions is beyond the scope of this paper, it can be said that approached in this way, CSR seems to be more than ‘beyond compliance’ and advancing a social cause (Rodriguez, Siegel, Hillman, & Eden, 2006: p. 736); nor does it involve ‘systematic overcompliance’ (Portney, 2008) or only ‘sacrificing profits in the social interest’ (Reinhardt, Stavins, & Vietor, 2008). Corporate social responsibility rather involves managing a firm in such a way that it can be ‘economically profitable, law abiding, ethical and socially supportive’ (Carroll, 1999: p. 286), something which is complicated when operating in a large number of different contexts with often diverging views of the role of business in society (cf. Devinney, 2009). It is the combination of these considerations that presents challenges to MNEs, in their own operations but also in their dealings with other firms and with stakeholders, with implications for society as a whole. Concerns as to a more sustainable development, in terms of realising economic growth ‘that is forceful and at the same time socially and environmentally sustainable’, have been expressed more than 20 years ago already by the Brundtland commission (WCED, 1987: p. xii). In the past decade, the term triple P – or People, Planet, Profit – has been coined to likewise point to the need for managers to focus concurrently on the social, environmental and economic dimensions of corporate activity, in order to help shape the (sustainable) future of societies worldwide (cf. Henriques and Richardson, 2004, Kolk, 2009 and Van Tulder and Van der Zwart, 2006). The impact of MNEs on sustainable development is, however, largely unclear and needs further investigation (Dunning and Fortanier, 2007 and Meyer, 2004). Doubts have been raised, for example by Frynas (2008), about the notion that complex development problems might ‘easily’ be solved by corporate involvement, particularly in view of lack of evidence to support such a claim. And even though many MNEs subscribe to the triple P and sustainable development, it is open for debate to what extent this is mere window dressing and Public Relations or a realised strategy. Nevertheless, MNEs’ CSR activities are seen as becoming increasingly strategic, in the sense that they affect the core business of the firm and its growth, profitability and survival (Kolk and Pinkse, 2008 and Verbeke, 2009), with CSR as a potential source of competitive advantage (Porter & Kramer, 2006). Some firms are actively searching to link their CSR strategies to core activities in order to manage international operations and earn a ‘license to operate’ in different cultural and institutional settings. CSR in some cases seems to move from a public affairs’ concern to a core strategic activity. In which situations and under which conditions, considering issue-, stakeholder-, country-, industry- and firm-specific factors, are critical questions in this regard. The international dimension of these questions is extremely relevant, but has not yet been systematically addressed in international business research. CSR and sustainable development provide fertile areas in which existing international business theories can be tested, and from which new insights into the dynamics of the interaction between MNEs and their national and international contexts can be induced. This special issue of International Business Review contains papers on CSR and sustainable development, thus helping to fill some of the gaps in these emerging areas of interest. While this is only a start for further research, it brings together a number of innovative papers, conceptual and empirical, qualitative and quantitative. In order to frame the five papers that were selected for this special issue, we will first discuss the extent to which CSR and sustainable development have been covered in existing IB research and briefly compare that to other managerial disciplines. Subsequently, a number of conceptual and methodological challenges are indicated, as well as novel approaches that have emerged. The collection of articles yields interesting findings and also points at a promising future research agenda.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
In this final section we will offer some concluding thoughts as to research on CSR and sustainable development that relates to IB, considering the limited number of publications thus far and recent studies highlighted above. One of the reasons for scant attention may be the problems of linking CSR/sustainable development to mainstream IB debates. We will relate the studies in this special issue to five dimensions that have come to the fore in the IB literature, and which remain very relevant for future research on CSR and sustainable development. The past few years have seen increased interest in institutions, accompanied by calls for more specific studies. Various notions have been used, such as the human environment ( Dunning, 2006), an institution-based view of IB strategy ( Peng, Wang, & Jiang, 2008), or the co-evolution of MNEs and the institutional environment ( Cantwell, Dunning, & Lundan, 2009), with CSR being mentioned explicitly. Most prominently, Dunning (2006) emphasised the suboptimal nature of the institutional infrastructure underlying global capitalism, and the importance of more insight into the organisational entities and the new ‘rules of the game’ needed to address market, regulatory and moral/ethical failures. Some of the articles in this special issue address institutions. This has particularly involved developing countries, in the articles by Fortanier and Van Wijk (2010), Rivera-Santos and Rufín (2010), and Wiig and Kolstad (2010). As noted by Peng et al. (2008), in emerging markets institutional aspects are even more salient than in more mature markets; this applies even more to developing countries, where governance and (re)distribution issues abound. Rivera-Santos and Rufín (2010) explicate the role of formal and informal institutions in BOP settings, to enable a comparison with TOP markets, and the implications for MNEs that want to engage in BOP initiatives. Wiig and Kolstad (2010) examine the role of CSR aspects in obtaining licenses and contracts in Angola, in the process providing insight into how the country's institutions affect MNEs and can in turn be influenced by them, in either a positive or a negative sense. A relevant question that emerges in their article is that “if ‘good’ institutions are so important to corporations, why do we see so little corporate activity to improve institutions, particularly in resource rich countries?” In the analysis of three sub-Saharan countries, Fortanier and Van Wijk (2010) suggest that MNEs crowd out local firms from the labour market by hiring their best-trained employees, which indicates that human capital development in the hotel sector will not be driven by FDI. This means that well-developed institutions (in this case via training and education systems), are a prerequisite for positive effects from FDI. Moreover, country-of-origin aspects were considered by Auger, Devinney, Louviere, and Burke (2010), in terms of the products included in their study as well as consumers from six different countries. Pinkse, Kuss, and Hoffmann (2010) take the differences between the German and US settings as starting point for examining the way in which a ‘global’ strategy designed in the former can be implemented in the latter. Obviously, there are many other institutional aspects that can be investigated further, considering both ‘formal and informal constraints’, and the balance between regulation and self-regulation (cf. Kolk & Van Tulder, 2005).