Corporate Social Responsibility and Multi-Stakeholder Governance: Pluralism, Feminist Perspectives and Women’s NGOs

Journal of Business Ethics 137 (1):65-81 (2016)
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The corporate social responsibility literature has increasingly explored relationships between civil society and social movements, including non-governmental organizations, and corporations, as well as the role of NGOs in multi-stakeholder governance processes. This paper addresses the challenge of including a plurality of civil society voices and perspectives in business–NGO relations, and in CSR as a process of governance. The paper contributes to CSR scholarship by bringing insights from feminist literature to bear on CSR as a process of governance, and engaging with leaders of women’s NGOs, a group of actors rarely included in CSR research. The issues raised inform contributions to the CSR literature relating to the role of women’s NGOs with regard to the gender equality practices and impacts of corporations, and with respect to defining the meaning and practice of CSR. The paper frames marginalized NGOs as important actors which can contribute to pluralism, inclusion and legitimacy in CSR as a process of governance. It identifies several key barriers to the participation of women’s NGOs in CSR, and concludes by making suggestions for future research, as well as practice.



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