Conscience as Control: Managing Employees through CSR

Jana Costas, Dan Kärreman

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    Corporate social responsibility has become an important topic for both academics and practitioners. CSR typically stands for corporate responses to ethical, environmental and social issues. Whilst extant research has predominately focused on CSR in relation to external stakeholders and taking a macro-institutional and/or functionalist perspective, we provide a critical engagement with the interactions between CSR, employees and management control within organizations. Qualitative data gathered at two management consultancy firms demonstrate how CSR discourses and practices serve to construct an idealized image of a socially, ecologically and ethically responsible corporate self. In this way, CSR works as a form of aspirational control that ties employees' aspirational identities and ethical conscience to the organization. The article discusses the implications of CSR concerning cynical distancing, ethical sealing and the space for politics and critique in corporations
    Original languageEnglish
    Issue number3
    Pages (from-to)394-415
    Publication statusPublished - May 2013

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