• Conceptualising Corporate Social Responsibility: ‘Relational Governance’ Assessed, Augmented, and Adapted

      Zueva-Owens, Anna; Fairbrass, Jenny M. (2012)
      Academic interest in corporate social responsibility (CSR) can be traced back to the 1930s. Since then an impressive body of empirical data and theory-building has been amassed, mainly located in the fields of management studies and business ethics. One of the most noteworthy recent conceptual contributions to the scholarship is Midttun’s (Corporate Governance 5(3):159–174, 2005) CSR-oriented embedded relational model of societal governance. It re-conceptualises the relationships between the state, business, and civil society. Other scholars (In Albareda et al. Corporate Governance 6(4):386–400, 2006; Business Ethics: A European Review 17(4):347–363, 2008; Lozano et al., Governments and Corporate Social Responsibility, 2008) have recently successfully used the model as the basis for their analytical framework for researching CSR activities in a large number of western European countries. While this research offers valuable insights into how CSR is operationalised, it also suffers from a number of significant limitations. To develop a stronger analytical framework with which to explore CSR, this article draws more deeply on political science literature concerned with governance and public policy analysis. This represents the main purpose of this article. In addition, this article also addresses a second and more modest aim: to reflect on the ways in which relational governance-inspired frameworks could be adapted and applied to politico-economic systems where state-industry-third sector relations differ from those found in North America and Western Europe. Both lines of argument are illustrated using vignettes from a case study of the Evenkia Hydro-Electric Station building project in the Russian Federation.
    • The Europeanization of business interest representation: UK and French firms compared.

      Fairbrass, Jenny M. (2003)
      The study of interest representation is well established in the context of the European Union1 (EU). For more than five decades, scholars have debated the role played by interest groups (particularly business interests) in comparison to other policy actors in the 'bottom-up' process of European integration. Recently, scholarship about the EU as a political system has shifted to focus on the 'top-down' impact of the EU on national and sub-national actors, a process referred to as Europeanization. This article addresses lacunae in that literature and brings fresh evidence to light by exploring the EU effect on UK and French business interest representation. Drawing on a combination of political and management studies concepts and tools, this article compares and contrasts UK and French firms located in two industrial sectors directly affected by the EU's single market programme, namely the telecommunications and energy sectors. The research, an extensive qualitative study based on more than 50 elite semi-structured interviews, elicits the firms' and other actors' perceptions, understandings and impressions of each other and the political processes at work. Some important similarities and differences between the UK and French firms emerge from the data. Most significantly, some narrowing in the dissimilarities is apparent, which may, in part, be attributed to the process of Europeanization itself.
    • Protecting biodiversity in the European Union: national barriers and European opportunities

      Fairbrass, Jenny M.; Jordan, A. (2009-03-18)
      The European Union (EU) is an evolving system of multi-level governance (MLG). For scholars of the EU, a critical question is which level of governance has the most decisive influence on the integration process? Some studies of EU regional policy claim that subnational actors, using channels of interest representation that bypass national officials, interact directly with EU policy-makers generating outcomes that are neither desired nor intended by national executives. This article examines the development of EU biodiversity policy over a thirty-year period (c. 1970-2000) and finds that environmental groups, who were generally marginalized at the national level in Britain, have learnt to use EU opportunities to outflank the government, resulting in policy outcomes that they would be unlikely to secure through national channels of representation. However, the evidence presented suggests that supranational actors were the major cause of these unintended consequences, not environmental groups.