Corporate Social Responsibility and Regulatory Governance: Towards Inclusive Development?

Corporate Social Responsibility and Regulatory Governance: Towards Inclusive Development?
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Telfer School of Management, University of Ottawa. Verified email at telfer.

Articles Cited by Co-authors. Title Cited by Year Corporate social responsibility and regulatory governance: Towards inclusive development?

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Show all. Corporate social responsibility in public sector supply chains: an insight. Condition: New. AB - This chapter explores the rise of multinational retail and sourcing chains in the context of neoliberal capitalism promoted by the World Trade Organiza- tion WTO and other institutions as part of the post-Washington Consensus. Concision is key. Verified email at telfer. For this study, we used a constructed disclosure index to analyze and compare the level of annual report disclosure with respect to Corporate Social Responsibility CSR activities for selected companies in India before and after the legal mandate.

P Utting, JC Marques. Corporate social responsibility and regulatory governance, , Academy of Management Proceedings 1 , , Wal-Martization and CSR-ization in developing countries. N2 - This chapter explores the rise of multinational retail and sourcing chains in the context of neoliberal capitalism promoted by the World Trade Organiza- tion WTO and other institutions as part of the post-Washington Consensus. Focusing in particular on Wal-Mart and its operations in China, it examines the changing social relations between different types of capital along supply chains, as well as between capital and workers at different points in these chains.

This chapter addresses such issues in four sections. The second section focuses on developing countries, especially China, examining how Wal-Mart has reshaped its corporate culture and entered into local joint-venture partnerships to consolidate its retailing and sourcing activities. When it comes to choosing the place for investment, companies work around their work sites if there is substantial disruption in the community life e. Otherwise, the beneficiary communities are determined randomly.

For the power distribution company, the transmission lines across the country but do not have significant footprint at one single point. Hence they have more than small projects of around the country We could see one "unintended consequence" of the new guidelines. Because of detailed monitoring and baseline requirement given in the guidelines, many managers felt that it is easier to work on a single big project that would exhaust most of the budget. They felt this would reduce pressure from different stakeholders who now have prior knowledge of the CSR budget of companies.

Two companies out of the four studied have decided to start colleges in their place of operation. All managers had a one to three year time horizon while they were planning. The guideline mentions that CSR projects have to be monitored and monthly report of the top 5 projects sent to the CSR hub, a social science institute of repute. The "hub" was seen as a central repository that would manage the knowledge created in implementing CSR across India. It was entrusted with training, documentation and reporting to the government.

In practice we found that only one of the companies was sending the monthly reports. Formal monitoring mechanisms were absent in most places. For the shipping company, the partnering NGOs were asked to send progress reports every three months and company officials visited the work sites every four months. CSR monitoring can happen when plans are made with output indicators and milestones.

With non-existent planning, it was not surprising to see that monitoring was not a concern for most of the managers. Enforcing the guidelines and asking companies to send their monthly reports seem to be a possible way to raise monitoring performance. It is here the role of the "CSR hub" will be important to study.

One of the existing monitoring mechanisms inside the companies involved sending reports of the "work in progress" to the boards of the respective companies. Board meetings are held every quarter.

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The projects are discussed in the board meeting and comments and feedback, if any, sent back to respective departments. By the time they reached the concerned managers, the next report would start to get prepared! Unless companies could speed up the communication, monitoring would lose its value. The new government guidelines require companies to get their project evaluated by independent third party agencies.

This often meant local universities. Without a baseline and output or impact indicators, the evaluation reports are mostly report of a visit by an expert. One manager felt that it is early to evaluate their projects in education. The mining company, involved in supplying drinking water to drought hit villages, felt projects like this do not require any evaluation. Together, these four companies were working at more than locations 16 in India with communities and NGOs in various areas like health, education and livelihood. Based on the interview findings, we could identify four broad areas that require immediate attention from various stakeholders: stakeholder engagement, development of institutional mechanism, capacity building and knowledge management.

Two types of engagement are relevant for CSR practitioners and policy makers:. The public sector has an annual appraisal done by the Department of Public Enterprise. These norms are not adequate to ensure that CSR activities are aligned to SD requirements in different regions. SD had another 5 points in the appraisal system. This will require co-ordination with local bureaucracy and regional governments. The current norms are silent on these aspects. Such co-ordination will make CSR management more complex and yet, they seem inevitable. Some of the relevant questions in this area are "How do we identify the community to help?

As a result we are seeing wide disparity in the depth and breadth of CSR programmes. In some cases this has resulted in community company conflicts as seen in protests against the rehabilitation policy of the coal company.

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Institutional mechanisms include people and processes to manage institutional activities. As mentioned by many managers during the interview, there is a lack of manpower in public sector. The new guidelines have forced these companies to assign employees from other departments like Human Resource, legal or engineering to their CSR department. This has led to employee resentment: "This is a work of the social department. I am an engineer" employee, hydropower company, personal interview, December, Appointment of a "CSR hub" and sending quarterly reports to the board of directors may not be enough to strengthen the process of CSR delivery.

By , many PSUs mainly the old and large ones with significant CSR budget questioned the need for a "hub" and what value it added to the governance architecture of CSR delivery. Individual capacity and motivation of CSR managers often determine their success or failure.

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Most managers entrusted with CSR had little idea of what it entails and learnt on the job. Many, in the hydroelectric power company, for example, considered CSR to be not reflective of their technical background. Concepts like sustainable development, climate change or renewable energy were not known to them and they did not think that these could be related to the CSR projects. The CSR managers were unaware of the nuances of community and rural development. Many were unaware of project management techniques even as all CSR programmes were executed as projects.

This disconnect and lack of appreciation of the sustainability aspect could mean that CSR will fail to address the very issues that the Indian government wanted it to serve. There is no collation of data 17 in a manner that could benefit future projects. For example, while all companies carried out initiatives in health clinics, awareness drives, support for surgery etc. There was no single database in India, identifying the NGOs working in the country, their background and specialty.

Often, companies were at a loss to identify NGOs in the communities. Unless the field experiences are documented and used for future planning, mandatory CSR expenditure will not gain from the learning curve. Together these four themes point towards the challenges of developing an inclusive policy of CSR that could deliver sustainable development to Indian communities.

While the new guidelines does manage to get companies finance their CSR, SD requires more evidence based work in India. The emerging Indian regulations are still weak on evidence generation as well as sensing mechanisms. Unless it could do so, by improving the four areas mentioned above, CSR would fail to deliver. Worse, by taking over the role of government in communities, it would create false expectations in the community and SD will have to wait for the moment.

Emerging economies will need to grow through industrial and infrastructure development. At the same time, they will need to ensure that economic growth lead to inclusive and sustainable development for all parts of the society. Poverty alleviation, livelihood generation and community development needs to be financed in an innovative manner to avoid social unrest. In recent past, for example, India, Brazil and South Africa have seen wide spread civil society agitation against these governments and their governance mechanisms.

At the same time the international discourse on CSR may not provide an exact match to the dynamic, Asian context. BRIC economies will need to find ways to balance growth with development. Mandatory CSR for public sector is an innovative financing mechanism for sustainable development. It not only urges performing companies to give back to the community and society but also harnesses the corporate innovation and talent pools. This paper limits itself primarily to the mandatory CSR guidelines issued by the Indian government for public sector companies.

The issues and impact could be significantly different for the private sector as well as for small and medium enterprises SMEs. CSR being a sensitive topic, many government employees did not agree to give a critical view of the guidelines. A large percentage of our respondents are drawn from two companies which came forward for training.

Considering, training to be an indicator of top management support for CSR and sustainable development, the views in this paper reflect the views of relatively proactive Indian public sectors. In future, this work could be extended for comparative study across countries e. BRICS and sectors. The new guidelines also provide further opportunity for research on CSR in Indian public sector.

This will lead to community development in pockets of industrial clusters. Such development, after overcoming initial procedural and implementation bottlenecks can actually rejuvenate livelihoods, and create prosperity only if there is concerted effort in planning, implementation and evaluation. The new policy, though a good start, lacks evidence based, bottom up approach for the moment. It is also unclear how such developmental activities could be scaled up sustainably and made to leverage the various governmental policies in place.

Emerging BRICS economies like India face the dual challenge of economic growth and sustainable development even as it vies for "leadership role in clarifying the concept of sustainable development" SINGH, CSR activities include projects in education, health and infrastructure which are closely linked to sustainable community development. One of the first steps in this direction is a guideline making CSR mandatory for profit making public sector undertakings. This is a major departure from the voluntary and strategic nature of CSR that has become predominant in the developed countries in recent years.

By roping in the public sector in the governance of sustainable development the Indian government has taken an innovative step. This is a first of its public policy approach to link CSR and SD in the world which has implications for all stakeholders. Corporate financing of sustainable development through CSR can creatively engage corporate talent pool, resources and innovation.

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The policy documents were analyzed and CSR managers from public sectors interviewed. The study identified four parameters that could help the government and the public sector to achieve sustainable development through their CSR programmes: stakeholder engagement, institutional mechanisms, capacity development and knowledge management. Engagement mechanisms among government, public sector and communities have to be identified and strengthened.

Corporate Social Responsibility and Regulatory Governance: Towards Inclusive Development?

Within and across public sector, investments in people and processes to manage the CSR activity can improve their effectiveness and impact. On the people front, training and capacity building is required for managers handling CSR projects. Top management of PSUs will be helped by training on the inter-linkage among environmental policies, CSR and sustainability.

Lastly, the large amount of data generated by thousands of CSR projects across geographies and sectors should be managed professionally to improve their impact over time. Stakeholders need to use the database for evidence based policy making. Initiatives in these four dimensions can help India to build evidence sensing and participatory mechanisms as well as intra and extra organizational capacity building to make CSR more robust and useful in achieving its goal of sustainable development as well as be one of the largest economies in the world.