Responsibility: a convenient

diligentdeputyManagement

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

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Corporate Social
Responsibility: a convenient
oxymoron

Dr Crawford Spence

School of Management

University of St Andrews

The Development of Capitalism


Emerged out of feudalism in the 14
th

century



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
is

corporate

1. Health and Safety


Anglo American


one
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
productivity.”



“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
this?



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
-
efficiency’




Environmental Management in
Context


What is the primary motivation behind
this?



The objectification of the environment



A resource to be
managed


Corporate Social
Responsibility?


The logic behind CSR is clear to see



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



Nevertheless, an
image

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
-
6).

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
-
economic
relationships



Respecting ‘the other’


Need to radically redesign forms of
economic organisation


Primacy of ownership structures



Different conception of humanity



Different relation to nature