Is Corporate Social Responsibility In Labour Standards An Oxymoron?
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The corporate social responsibility (CSR) movement pressures corporations to reject the shareholder primacy model of corporate governance in favour of multiple objectives. We examine how effective market forces are at ensuring CSR in relation to the application of labour standards within multinational supply chains and locate this in the context of theory of the corporation. As corporations are primarily motivated to engage in CSR to protect their corporate image, they will attempt to do so at the lowest possible cost, which does not necessarily mean improving labour conditions in factories. Many corporations have countered negative CSR publicity by adopting sophisticated campaigns to improve corporate image without improving respect for human rights. Major US corporations pressure governments to avoid binding them to human rights standards, as these would restrict their competitive edge internationally. The high degree of control exercised by finance capital means that the focus on profit maximisation is stronger now than at any time over the previous century. Any attempts to promote responsible corporate behaviour must eventually feature codes of conduct that are verifiable and create legal responsibility.
Dialogue Downunder: Proceedings of the 25th Conference of the Association of Industrial Relations Academics of Australia and New Zealand (AIRAANZ)
Copyright 2011 AIRAANZ. The attached file is reproduced here in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the conference's website for access to the definitive, published version.