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Reconciling CSR with the Role of the Corporation in Welfare States: The Problematic Swedish Example
SSE Riga.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Business Studies.
2009 (English)In: Journal of Business Ethics, ISSN 0167-4544, E-ISSN 1573-0697, Vol. 89, no Supplement 3, 269-283 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article uses the Swedish example to illustrate how corporate social responsibility (CSR) is understood and interpreted when it enters a welfare state context where social issues have traditionally been the domains of the state and of politicians. Among the implications one finds a relative scepticism of traditionally strong actors on the labour market, such as the state, trade unions and employers. This relative scepticism is primarily explained by an enduring idea of the role of business in society which stands in contradistinction to the idea expressed in the corporate centred idea of CSR. Still, CSR gains a foothold in the welfare state context, mainly because of the flexibility of the concept which allows for 'escape routes' - an understanding of CSR that focusses on issues at arm's length from the traditional welfare context. CSR also benefits from being codified in soft regulation, thereby becoming a legitimate super- national point of reference for all relevant actors. The possibility of developing new global arenas for espousing ideals partly in conflict with traditional ones also explains why CSR has become an established concept. In Sweden, such arenas have been created through the activities of multinational corporations, NGOs, investors, the media, consultants and other actors.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 89, no Supplement 3, 269-283 p.
Keyword [en]
Corporate social responsibility, CSR, National context, Swedish model, Welfare state
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Business Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-111706DOI: 10.1007/s10551-010-0393-5ISI: 000275713900004OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-111706DiVA: diva2:282543
Available from: 2009-12-21 Created: 2009-12-21 Last updated: 2010-12-20Bibliographically approved

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