Trade union motivations for corporate social responsibility

Kazmi, Syed Sajid Hussain Shah (2013) Trade union motivations for corporate social responsibility. PhD thesis, Middlesex University.

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Abstract

Trade unions in Europe have showed a mixed response to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and have adopted a broad spectrum of positions on CSR. Prior research has identified five distinct positions of trade unions across Europe by way of which some of the unions perceive CSR as a threat, some are sceptical about the fact that whether CSR could deliver, yet others champion the cause of CSR, whereas two other categories of which some are disillusioned and others lack knowledge regarding CSR. This spectrum of positions raises the question whether we are going to witness a convergence of union positions over the medium term. The proposed research analyzes the positions adopted by trade unions in Europe. On the basis of this analysis, it tries to explain various strategies adopted by trade unions. The key argument is that the whole process is linked to neoliberalism. The outcome of neoliberal approach is deregulation, not only of financial market, but labour market as well. Withdrawal of state from regulation of businesses has created a vacuum. There is a vacuum of regulation at the national level and there are inadequate governance mechanisms available at the global level. Businesses have tried to fill this vacuum by engaging in CSR. Trade unions are apprehensive of CSR due to its voluntary nature; greenwashing; questionable nature of CSR tools including audits, awards, an attempt to replace binding rules; and some see CSR as a threat because there is evidence that adoption of CSR as an alternative to binding regulations has hampered trade union power. Simultaneously, to increase their influence in dealing with the businesses, trade unions want to use the opportunities offered by CSR to gain maximum benefits out of it. Trade unions see similarities in company CSR agenda with trade union agenda. There are trade unions that are progressing CSR agenda. To couple their efforts at the national level, trade unions are trying to develop some supranational regulatory institutions and development of IFAs is an evidence of that. An attempt has been made to provide evidence from the data collected for this study to interpret trade union responses in the light of hypotheses developed in this study. The dominant paradigm employed for the present study would be interpretivist/qualitative. The reason for preference of interpretivism over the other with relation to the present study is that it tries to explain strategy. The process of strategy formulation is difficult to capture with entirely quantitative approach. There is a lot of brainstorming at the union management level to adopt a certain strategy and to get a handle on how a specific strategy is adopted, it is easy to explain using an interpretive approach. Doctoral level research is meant to make original contribution towards the existing body of knowledge. The present study seeks to contribute original insights from data collected for this study. Prior research had informed us about the trade unions’ principled positions about CSR. The present study analyses the reason why trade unions are getting involved in CSR initiatives by businesses.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Research Areas: A. > Business School > Leadership, Work and Organisations
B. > Theses
Item ID: 13093
Depositing User: Users 3197 not found.
Date Deposited: 26 Feb 2014 16:21
Last Modified: 06 Dec 2016 15:03
URI: http://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/13093

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