CSR, Transparency and the Role of Intermediate Organisations

Journal of Business Ethics 82 (2):391 - 406 (2008)
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Abstract

Transparency is a crucial condition to implement a CSR policy based on the reputation mechanism. The central question of this contribution is how a transparency policy ought to be organised in order to enhance the CSR behaviour of companies. Governments endorsing CSR as a new means of governance have different strategies to foster CSR transparency. In this paper we discuss the advantages and disadvantages of two conventional policy strategies: the facilitation policy and the command and control strategy. Using three criteria (efficiency, freedom and virtue) we conclude that both strategies are defective. Most attention is paid to the facilitation strategy since governments nowadays mainly use this. In evaluating this strategy we analyse the Dutch case. As an alternative we introduce a third government policy: the development of a self-regulating sub-system. By construing an analogy with the historical development of corporate financial disclosure, we point out that the vital step in the creation of a self-regulating subsystem is the creation of strong informational intermediate organisations

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Author Profiles

J. J. Graafland
Tilburg University