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Call for Papers - Special Thematic Symposium

Emerging Paradigms of Corporate Social Responsibility, Regulation and Governance

I.        Guest Editors

Rudolf Sinkovics, The University of Manchester, UK; Bimal Arora, The University of Manchester, UK; Stephen Brammer, MacQuairie University, AU

II.     Introduction to the Special Thematic Symposium

The interconnectivity and interdependence of our economic system reinforces the need and importance of business ethics and sustainability (Banai & Sama, 2000; Kolk & Van Tulder, 2004). Over the past two decades, issues around self-regulation, transnational private regulation, and other voluntary nongovernmental forms of global governance have gained in visibility (Bair & Palpacuer, 2015; Rasche, de Bakker, & Moon, 2013). Private sector voluntary initiatives manifest through a plethora of corporate codes of conduct, process and certification standards, labels, as well as collaborative and multi-stakeholder initiatives (Bartley, 2007; Levy & Kaplan, 2008; Nadvi & Wältring, 2004; Rasche, 2010; Rasche et al., 2013). Driven by diverse operation, implementation and marketing methodologies, such initiatives are mostly been framed, analyzed and debated under the broad rubric of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

In the business and management literature on CSR, there is a gradual shift from decades of normative, firm/corporate-centric and instrumental approaches to CSR – which attempt to find the business case for firm/corporate engagement with CSR – to a growing recognition of the importance of historically and contextually shaped institutions. This involves analyzing CSR through the lens of institutional theory (Basu & Palazzo, 2008; Brammer, Jackson, & Matten, 2012; Campbell, 2007). Some CSR scholars argue that CSR should transcend discretionary and voluntary behaviors and, instead, be implemented as a “mode of governance” (Brammer et al., 2012, p.3).

The developing world may have experienced economic and employment gains from the growing practice of outsourcing and off shoring by modern multinational enterprises (MNEs). There has also been a simultaneous rise in global, regional, national and local inequalities, the destruction of the environment, a diminished biodiversity, and inappropriate application of technologies (Margolis & Walsh, 2003; Wilks, 2013). The emergence of CSR as an institutionally embedded phenomenon is explained as a form of transnational, nongovernmental private and voluntary regulation and global governance (Brammer et al., 2012; Fransen & Kolk, 2007). Indeed, companies - advanced MNEs in particular - are increasingly adopting and endorsing Voluntary Sustainability Standards (VSS) in their supply chains, aimed at improving social and environmental performance of their production networks.

While there is a rich and diverse literature on business ethics and CSR, the recent “governance” turn in CSR studies takes CSR scholarship, as well as CSR policy and practice, to an exciting, new level. Consequently, there are conceptual, theoretical and empirical challenges that are wide open for research.

Given only limited exchange and collaboration among academic sub-disciplines, and the multidisciplinary nature and the use of CSR as forms of regulation and governance (Wouters, Bijlmakers, Hachez, Lievens, & Marx, 2013), forging cross- and multidisciplinary dialogue and research collaboration seems imperative. This cross- and multidisciplinary collaboration will help to advance the conceptual and theoretical understanding of business ethics and CSR, and contribute to effective conduct, regulation and governance of corporate and organizational behavior.

III.   Conceptual and Empirical Topics of Particular Interest

·         We welcome theoretical, empirical and review papers from different academic disciplines and sub-disciplines to examine: How are the notions of ethics, CSR, sustainability standard, regulation and governance connected?

·         How does the transfer of regulatory power from traditional democratic nation-state processes to private, regulatory schemes connect with democratic legitimacy issues?

·         What is the impact of private standards and certification schemes on the livelihoods of farmers and workers; what about inclusion and exclusion of specific actors due to the certification and labelling processes and how does this connect with the transformation of markets

·         How does the marketization of regulation and governance affect business models of these private initiatives, and the organization of dynamics within global production networks?

·         How do rising powers participate and engage with transnational, nongovernmental private and voluntary regulation and global governance.

·         How do different academic disciplines and sub-disciplines engage with the topics of business ethics, CSR, transnational, nongovernmental private and voluntary regulation and global governance?

·         What are the opportunities and challenges associated with transnational, nongovernmental private and voluntary regulation and global governance?

·         What are the differences and similarities in various geographies and institutional environments towards transnational, nongovernmental private and voluntary regulation and global governance?

·         How do nation states and actors from developing and emerging economies perceive and engage in the transnational, nongovernmental private and voluntary regulation and global governance?

IV.   Submission Process and Deadlines

Submission deadline

Regular paper deadline

30 September 2017

Review feedback deadline round 1

January 2018

Review feedback deadline round 2

June 2018

Guidelines for submission

·         Authors should refer to the Journal of Business Ethics website and the instructions on submitting a paper. For more information see:

·         Submission to the Special Thematic Symposium is required through Editorial Manager at

·         Informal enquiries about expectations, requirements, the appropriateness of a topic, and so forth, should be directed to the guest editors:

o   Prof. Rudolf R. Sinkovics, Professor of International Business, The University of Manchester, Alliance Manchester Business School, UK, [log in to unmask],

o   Prof. Stephen Brammer, Professor of Strategy & Executive Dean, MacQuairie University, AU, [log in to unmask]

o   Dr. Bimal Arora, Research Associate in Responsible International Business, The University of Manchester, Alliance Manchester Business School, UK, [log in to unmask]

V.      References

Bair, J., & Palpacuer, F. (2015). CSR beyond the corporation: Contested governance in global value chains. Global Networks, 15(s1), S1-S19. doi: 10.1111/glob.12085

Banai, M., & Sama, L. M. (2000). Ethical dilemmas in MNCs' international staffing policies a conceptual framework. Journal of Business Ethics, 25(3), 221-235. doi: 10.1023/a:1006079511331

Bartley, T. (2007). Institutional emergence in an era of globalization: The rise of transnational private regulation of labor and environmental condition. American journal of sociology, 113(2), 297-351. doi: 10.1086/518871

Basu, K., & Palazzo, G. (2008). Corporate social responsibility: A process model of sensemaking. Academy of management review, 33(1), 122-136. doi: 10.5465/amr.2008.27745504

Brammer, S., Jackson, G., & Matten, D. (2012). Corporate social responsibility and institutional theory: New perspectives on private governance. Socio-Economic Review, 10(1), 3-28. doi: 10.1093/ser/mwr030

Campbell, J. L. (2007). Why would corporations behave in socially responsible ways? An institutional theory of corporate social responsibility. Academy of management review, 32(3), 946-967. doi: 10.5465/amr.2007.25275684

Fransen, L. W., & Kolk, A. (2007). Global rule-setting for business: A critical analysis of multi-stakeholder standards. Organization, 14(5), 667-684. doi: 10.1177/1350508407080305

Kolk, A., & Van Tulder, R. (2004). Ethics in international business: Multinational approaches to child labor. Journal of World Business, 39(1), 49-60.

Levy, D. L., & Kaplan, R. (2008). Corporate social responsibility and theories of global governance: Strategic contestation in global issue arenas. In A. Crane, A. McWilliams, D. Matten, J. Moon & D. S. Siegel (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of corporate social responsibility. Oxford: Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199211593.003.0019

Margolis, J. D., & Walsh, J. P. (2003). Misery loves companies: Rethinking social initiatives by business. Administrative Science Quarterly, 48(2), 268-305. doi: 10.2307/3556659

Nadvi, K., & Wältring, F. (2004). Making sense of global standards. In H. Schmitz (Ed.), Local enterprises in the global economy: Issues of governance and upgrading (pp. 53-94). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar

Rasche, A. (2010). The limits of corporate responsibility standards. Business Ethics: A European Review, 19(3), 280-291. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8608.2010.01592.x

Rasche, A., de Bakker, F. G. A., & Moon, J. (2013). Complete and partial organizing for corporate social responsibility. Journal of Business Ethics, 115(4), 651-663. doi: 10.1007/s10551-013-1824-x

Wilks, S. (2013). The political power of the business corporation. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.

Wouters, J., Bijlmakers, S., Hachez, N., Lievens, M., & Marx, A. (2013). Global governance and democratic legitimacy: A bottom-up approach. Innovation: The European Journal of Social Science Research, 26(3), 197-200. doi: 10.1080/13511610.2013.771898






Prof Dr Rudolf R Sinkovics  |  Professor of International Business  |  AMBS Director of Research  |  The University of Manchester | Alliance Manchester Business School |  Booth Street East  Room AMBS East F7  |   Manchester  M13 9SS   |  United Kingdom   |  Tel +44 (161) 306 8980  | [log in to unmask]  |  |


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