Corporate Social Responsibility standards have become the primary instruments for supporting firms in becoming more accountable in terms of the social and environmental sustainability of their operations. However, there is evidence suggesting that firms who adopt such standards, frequently fail to achieve compliance. Rather, the formal policies prescribed by these standards tend to be decoupled from daily practice. Such decoupling may lead to situations where standards are not effectively implemented or regularly violated. The purpose of this study is to comparatively assess the risk of decoupling across a sample of 50 well-known standards, based on seven design characteristics that have been shown to influence the extent to which standards are effectively implemented after adoption. We find that certain types of standards are more prone than others to being decoupled. Furthermore, we identify three main components explaining the relative differences between standards with regard to decoupling risk, notably comparability, measurability and implementability. We conclude by contextualizing our findings and elaborating on their implications for the assessment of the quality and effectiveness of Corporate Social Responsibility standards.
13 Juni 2018 → 16 Juni 2018
GRONEN Research Conference 2018/
Österreichische Systematik der Wissenschaftszweige (ÖFOS)