Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has been recently conceptualized and studied as a political phenomenon. Most debates in this scholarship have thus far focused on normative issues. Less attention has been paid to the explanatory potential of CSR research grounded in political theory and philosophy. In this article, we conduct a pragmatist reading of political scholarship on CSR and seek to deploy existing knowledge for research pursuing political explanation. We argue that the political ontologies that underlie scholarship on CSR can be used to transform normative and descriptive research also for explanatory uses. We show how ontologies vary in terms of potential research objects and scopes of political explanation, and argue that the main types of political-ontological stances adopted in scholarship on CSR, foundational and post-foundational stances, offer explanatory analysis of different schematic guidelines. Our pragmatist reading of previous research and an empirical case illustration of political explanation of change in corporate responsibility in the biofuel industry demonstrate the opportunities, limitations, and challenges different political-ontological commitments provide for political explanation.
- 512 Business and Management
- corporate social responsibility
- palm oil biofuels
- political philosophy
Areas of Strength and Areas of High Potential (AoS and AoHP)
- AoS: Responsible organising