Corporate to management social responsibility : extending CSR to MSR guided by Mary Parker Follett

Doctoral thesis English OPEN
Mawer, SJ

This research extends the concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR) by proposing that it should be operationalised as a management obligation and redefined as management social responsibility: MSR. The contribution of this research comprises two strands. First it addresses the practicalities for managers initiating and implementing MSR as an integral managerial duty. The contentiousness of defining CSR is addressed by applying a conceptual framework based on an analysis of the works of social scientist and management theorist, Mary Parker Follett (1868 – 1933). Secondly, Follett’s work is synthesised and offered as a starting point to deal with other management demands in theory and practice. \ud The case for MSR invokes the same principles for the elimination of workplace discrimination, not for economic reasons but because it represents socially just and moral business conduct. Follett’s belief that management possesses the capability to advance human welfare was assessed during research in 20 organizations across public, private and non-profit sectors in the UK, France and the USA. Semi-structured interviews with 23 practicing managers, ranging from CEOs to junior managers, produced data on the feasibility of implementing MSR, which was validated by experiences from operationalising other social issues in management. As a result the concept of MSR evolved in which business management is central to a beneficial relationship with all stakeholders \ud The overall qualitative findings of this research indicate that business management attitudes and practice are inclined towards initiating socially responsible business activities. By examining the challenges to managers to accept MSR, their motivation and capability to implement it have been analysed. This analysis informed proposals for a practical framework and professional partnerships to absorb Follett’s philosophies that inform MSR. Subsequent developments can be expected as managers become familiar with MSR, which will contribute to the evolution of theory and practice.
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