Call for Papers
Special Issue of the
British Journal of Industrial Relations
Special Issue Editors
Lucio Baccaro (Université de Genève)
Virginia Doellgast (London School of Economics)
Gregory Jackson (Freie Universität Berlin)
Aims and Scope
The special issue of British Journal of Industrial Relations is dedicated to the issue of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and labour standards. CSR is treated as an emerging new regulatory regime for addressing labour and other standards, which interacts in complex fashion with state and international regulations and with traditional industrial relations practices. The goal is to reach a deeper and dispassionate understanding of why CSR policies emerge, how they function and what kind of concrete results they achieve, as well as of the newly emerging policy mix in the field of labour standards. We aim to encourage dialogue between various research streams around these issues, including the management and international business scholarship on CSR, the sociology and political science literatures on private governance across global supply chains and development of multilevel regulatory regimes in the field of labour regulation, and scholarship grounded in the traditions of labour and industrial relations.
CSR has become as a growing field of corporate activities and policy development over the last decade. Labour standards figure very prominently in these debates, prompted by scandals surrounding child labour, poor worker health and safety, and the continued problems of low wages and inequality within global value chains (Hassel 2008; Waddock 2004; Weil & Mallo 2007). In this literature, CSR is often defined in terms of voluntary business activities aimed at promoting improvement of social and environmental standards. A large part of CSR research by management scholars has focused on the “business case” and investigated whether CSR adoption also translates into benefits for firms. These include improved relations with stakeholders such as employees and consumers, stronger corporate reputation, and ultimately better financial performance (Brower & Mahajan 2013; Tang et al. 2012). Despite this focus on stakeholders, management typically faces dilemmas between business objectives and as societal or environmental outcomes (Yu 2008).
Management research on CSR has given insufficient attention to the tensions related to the plurality of actors that negotiate and implement CSR within organizations (Locke 2013), and thereby the symbolic and contestable nature of CSR itself (Okoye 2009). In addition, by emphasizing the voluntary and strategic dimension of CSR, past research has neglected the more macro-level political and regulatory aspects of CSR as an emerging field of “private regulation” (Brammer et al. 2012) tied together with new forms of soft law in the transnational domain (Baccaro & Mele 2012). Despite the plurality of perspectives in studying CSR (Taneja et al. 2011), the field remains far from the synthesis and integration needed for a more comprehensive perspective on the promise and limitations of CSR. Here we think that industrial relations scholarship can make very important contributions to these wider debates (see discussion in Tapia et al. 2015)
The special issue will highlight the need to mobilize multiple disciplinary perspectives for a comprehensive assessment of CSR as a regulatory tool. By highlighting the pluralism of actors and regulatory instruments (private and public) within the employment relations context, we aim to develop a better understanding of how CSR is shaped by institutions in both home and host country settings, to gain new insights on how CSR is designed both at the level of firms and within the wider institutional field of labour standards, and ultimately to produce a nuanced assessment of its impact on both workers and organizational performance.
Submissions to the special issue of the BJIR must be submitted no later than 13th July 2015. Please see the detailedauthor guidelines for the BJIR, and submit your paper through the on-line system of BJIR. Papers will be published in the Wiley Early View on line system, and will appear in a special issue of the journal at a later date.
Professor Dr. Gregory Jackson
Chair of Human Resource Management and Labor Politics
Department of Management
Freie Universität Berlin