Market-based social governance schemes that establish standards of conduct for producers and traders in international supply chains aim to reduce the negative socioenvironmental effects of globalization. While studies have examined how characteristics of social governance schemes promote socially responsible producer behavior, it has not yet been examined how these same characteristics affect consumer behavior. This is a crucial omission, because without consumer demand for socially produced products, the reach of the social benefits is likely to be limited. We develop a (...) comprehensive model that links twocharacteristics of market-based social governance schemes— stringency and enforcement of requirements, and promotion—to two conditions required for governance schemes to generate significant social benefits: socially responsible behavior of participating firms; and consumer demand for socially produced products which, in turn, expands products produced according to social governance schemes, and thus, the quantity of social benefits. We discuss market-based social governance schemes in the context of fair trade coffee. (shrink)
ABSTRACT:This article reviews four key orientations in environmental ethics that range from an instrumental understanding of sustainability to one that acknowledges the intrinsic value of sustainable behavior. It then shows that the current scholarly discourse around corporate sustainability management—as reflected in environment management, corporate social responsibility, and corporate political activity —mostly favors an instrumental perspective on sustainability. Sustainable business practices are viewed as anthropocentric and are conceptualized as a means to achieve competitive advantage. Based on these observations, we speculate about (...) what corporate sustainability management might look like if it applied ethical orientations that emphasize the intrinsic value of nature. This discussion also includes an introduction to two articles in this special section focused on the role of the environmental manager and sustainability standards, both of which offer paths for incorporating intrinsic valuation of the environment into sustainability management. (shrink)
Although the intrinsic physicality of human beings has not changed in millennia, the species has managed to profoundly reconstitute the physical and social world it inhabits. Although the word “profound” is insufficient to describe the vast changes our world has undergone, it is sufficiently neutral to encompass both the opportunities—and the challenges—that our age provides. It is a premise of my work that technology, particularly information and communication technology (ICT), offers spectacular opportunities for humankind to address its collective problems. The (...) problems themselves are equally spectacular that is war and militarism, poverty, environmental depletion and destruction, disease, etc., and lack of successful alleviation may prove catastrophic. Humankind’s problems will not be solved by elite fiat, by chance, or as a side-effect of the “free market.” To address these challenges effectively and appropriately, “civic intelligence” will be required. This paper is designed to explore the relation between community networks and the nascent concept of civic intelligence. Civic intelligence describes the capacity of society to consciously adapt to its environment and shape a future environment that is healthy, equitable, and sustainable. Although individuals contribute to civic intelligence, the concept describes a phenomenon that is collective and distributed. This paper argues that community networks were an important manifestation of civic intelligence in the early days of the Internet revolution. It further argues that a theory of civic intelligence can be used to account for the declining influence of traditional community networks and to provide useful prescriptions for renewed vitality and influence of community networks in the future. (shrink)
This article focuses upon answering the following question: Does corporate political activity stand as an academic field? Following Hambrick and Chen, we consider three elements of the emergence of an academic field—differentiation, mobilization, and legitimacy. Utilizing a variety of data sources, we find CPA to be well differentiated from other academic fields; to have undertaken a number of activities to mobilize CPA as a field, but short of large-scale unification; and to have earned low to moderate legitimacy within management, but (...) little legitimacy outside of management. All in all, at this time, CPA does not squarely meet the elements necessary to emerge as a field. (shrink)
In the medieval legend, Doctor Faustus strikes a dark deal with the devil; he obtains vast powers for a limited time in exchange for a priceless possession, his eternal soul. The cautionary tale, perhaps more than ever, provides a provocative lens for examining humankind’s condition, notably its indefatigable faith in knowledge and technology and its predilection toward misusing both. A variety of important questions are raised in this meditation including What is the nature of knowledge today and how does it (...) differ from knowledge in prior times? What is its relation to technology and power? What paths are we heading along and which alternative ones are being avoided? Not insignificantly, we also raise the issue of civic ignorance, including that which is intentionally cultivated and that which is simply a lack of knowledge. We also consider the identity of Doctor Faustus in the twenty-first century and in a more material world like ours, what is the soul that he would lose in the bargain, and what damage might be done to Faustus and to innocent bystanders. Finally since people don’t always live up to the terms of agreements they make, what, if anything, could Faustus do to wriggle out of the bargain, to avoid the loss of his all-important soul. Our response is not to disavow knowledge (as the implicit “lesson” of the original myth might suggest) but to shift to another approach to knowledge that is more collective and more responsive to actual needs of our era. This approach which we call civic intelligence is considered as a way to avoid the possible catastrophes that the Faustian bargain we’ve seemingly struck is likely to bring. (shrink)
Seventy years after Vannevar Bush's seminal article his paper argues that societal or group thinking is as important as individual thinking. The phenomenon of civic intelligence, the capability of collectivities to address significant shared issues efficiently and equitably, is explored, especially in relation to other social / psychological phenomena including collective intelligence and metacognition. The paper's strongest claim is that contemporary conditions absolutely compel us to take seriously the need for consciously improving the civic intelligence of the world's citizenry. This (...) article was originally published in the Spanda Journal in a special issue devoted to Systemic Change, Vol. VI, 1, 2015.. It has been reprinted with permission from the author. (shrink)
We review articles about corporate political activity published in Business & Society since its beginnings 60 years ago and in a set of other leading management journals over the past decade. We present evidence that most studies of CPA use the political markets’ perspective. Under the premise that the contemporary political environment has changed significantly since the inception of the political markets’ perspective, our review asks two interconnected questions. First, to what degree have changes in the political environment challenged the (...) ability of the political markets’ perspective to understand the pillars of politics: issues, institutions, interests, and information? Second, to what degree have CPA scholars augmented or diversified their theoretical arguments to accommodate these changes in the political environment? We document the CPA literature across these dimensions and questions and note that many scholars are already adopting other theories side by side with the political markets’ perspective. (shrink)
Here we are. Nearly November. What better time to talk about computers and society and SIGCAS?! This column will be mostly related to thoughts on how we might go further on making our SIG more effective and influential but first...
The objective of this study is to evaluate empirically a firm’s political relationships with elected officials. A general premise is that firms with certaincharacteristics are in a better position for developing political relationships and gaining benefits from these relationships. We draw upon the resource dependency, resource based, and political strategy choice literatures to consider certain factors that lead firms to seek political relationships with elected officials. We test a model drawing upon measures from each of these areas on a sample (...) of large companies with U.S. operations. (shrink)
There is nothing unusual or sinister in the fact that each generation rewrites history to suit its own needs, or about disagreements within the profession and among the public at large about how history should best be taught and studied.--- Eric Foner, Who owns history?: rethinking the past in a changing world. 2002. p. xi .
The title of this column comes from the parting provocation in my column in the previous SIGCAS Newsletter. Besides reducing the burden of coming up with a new title it actually does describe this essay reasonably well. Fancy that!
As the Chair of SIGCAS, part of my responsibility is to provide periodic updates and perspectives to the SIG membership regarding SIGCAS activities and topics related to computers and society. The "From the Chair" columns appearing in Computer and Society provides a medium for presenting these updates and perspectives. It is my honor to contribute my first "From the Chair" column.