Responsibility: a convenient


Nov 8, 2013 (3 years and 7 months ago)


Corporate Social
Responsibility: a convenient

Dr Crawford Spence

School of Management

University of St Andrews

The Development of Capitalism

Emerged out of feudalism in the 14


Objects and Subjects

How does humanity deal with ‘the other’

The emergence and development
of the ‘corporation’

Corporate form first emerged as a force in 1600s

Initially seen as a means to specific, publicly
defined objectives

Unleashed a monster that outgrew public control

objectives have now changed

Corporate Social Responsibility

Has its roots in the social pressures of the
1960s and 1970s

Corporations recognised the need for
them to be perceived as ‘good citizens’

CSR can be understood primarily as a
strategy aimed at creating consent

The Logic of Corporate Social
Responsibility (CSR)

Not very social

Profoundly irresponsible

But it


1. Health and Safety

Anglo American

of the world’s largest
mining companies

Operates largely in
South Africa

Has a very well
developed initiative to
tackle HIV/AIDS

Anglo American “
Report to
Society 2005”

“(ART) has proved extraordinarily effective both in
terms of keeping HIV infected individuals healthy
and free from AIDS and also in terms of
reducing absenteeism and improving

“Results to date show that HIV/AIDS costs to
Anglo companies would constitute 2% of payroll
if ART was not available”

Company Strategy for HIV/AIDS

Health and Safety in General

Health and Safety in Context

What is the primary motivation behind

The objectification of human beings

Human Resource Management

2. The Ecological Crisis

What Ecological Crisis?

Environmental Management

Organisational attempts to manage
environmental impacts

Reduce energy consumption

Reduce waste produced

Reduce resource use

Report on Environmental performance

done primarily on a ‘per unit’ basis

The illusion of ‘eco

Environmental Management in

What is the primary motivation behind

The objectification of the environment

A resource to be

Corporate Social

The logic behind CSR is clear to see

The actual CSR activities undertaken by
corporations are driven by a ‘business

Nevertheless, an

of Responsibility
is maintained

BP’s advertising in context

Since leaving the GCC in 1997, BP have
marketed themselves as ‘Beyond Petroleum’

However, investment in renewable energy is
relatively slight

BP has a commitment to expand its fossil fuel
production by at least 3.5% per year, (though
this figure is likely to top 5% during 2005

CSR in summary

‘Corporate’ and ‘Social Responsibility’

Can these two live together?

Only through the objectification of human
beings and of nature

The suffocation of non

Respecting ‘the other’

Need to radically redesign forms of
economic organisation

Primacy of ownership structures

Different conception of humanity

Different relation to nature