Dealing With Uncertainties When Governing CSR Policies

Journal of Business Ethics 73 (4):391-408 (2007)
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As corporate social responsibility involves a voluntary business endeavour to address social and environmental issues beyond legal compliance, governments cannot fall back on hierarchical command-and-control policies to support it. As such, it is complementary with the increasing popularity of public policies known as New Governance policies, where the government is engaged in a horizontal inter-organizational network of societal actors and where public policy is both formed and executed by the interacting and voluntary efforts from a multitude of stakeholders. However, such policies are known to generate substantive uncertainty about the content of CSR and its related issues, strategic uncertainty regarding the behavior of the actors involved and institutional uncertainty related to the interaction process involved in the institutional change. We explore New Governance policy instruments to address these uncertainties in the context CSR and discuss the experiences with these methods in the European Union.



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