Beyond Corporate Social Responsibility
Author: Jedrzej George Frynas
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Beyond Corporate Social Responsibility is an in-depth analysis of the potential of CSR in the oil and gas industry. Case studies of twenty extracting companies from developed and emerging economies investigates the potential of CSR in three core areas – environment, development and governance.
The book is based on questions such as why some companies display greater willingness to engage in CSR than others, why the same companies have different CSR policies in different countries and why some companies engage in CSR even if there is little external pressure to do so. Frynas’ main research focus is if CSR is really able to deliver on larger expectations in companies. It is becoming more and more accepted that companies should address issues such as HIV/AIDS, poverty and the environment, but at the same time companies reject the notion that they have a responsibility for such issues, they are only there ‘to do business’.
Frynas finds that the success of CSR is highly dependent on context. He shoots down the universal assumption that social and political conditions for CSR apply in all cases. Further the analysis of the three areas, the environment, development and governance, shows that while CSR has great potential for success in the environmental area – where results can be measured, are tangible and often environmental solutions also leads to lower costs for the company in the long run – CSR largely fails in the areas of development and governance. Good development practise is often incompatible with profit-maximising motives, and such aims for development should be long-term where companies often look short-term and at the measurable outcome. Corporate activity can also help undermining good governance, mainly by not acknowledging the extent to which they interact with the host country. Companies often hold the notion that their policy is non-interference but corporate activity is dependent on the conditions in the country, on which they also can have an influence.
Frynas finds that a variety of issues are yet to be addressed, especially within development and governance before CSR can have a profound effect in these areas, but that the potential of CSR in environmental areas is great and compatible with profit-maximising motives.
The book is an easily-read book with great insight in the oil and gas industry, with massive fieldwork lying as its foundation. Frynas guides the reader through complex issues and makes a fair case for the successes and failures of CSR in each analysis. He brings to light the strengths and shortcomings of current systems and organisations, coming up with recommendations for further actions.
Tine Emilie Skriver, CSR International