Governmentalities of CSR: Danish Government Policy as a Reflection of Political Difference

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    This paper investigates the roles that Danish government has played in the development of corporate social responsibility (CSR). Denmark has emerged as a first mover among the Scandinavian countries when it comes to CSR. We argue that government has played a pivotal role in making this happen, and that this reflects strong traditions of regulation, corporatism and active state involvement. However, there is no unitary “Danish model of CSR” being promoted by government. Although Danish society is often associated with a model of consensus, our claim is that Danish government policy on CSR is characterized by a lack of common direction and that we need to approach it on such terms. In order to provide a critical account of ‘the Danish model’ we apply a governmentality perspective that allows us to stress political difference. We argue that Danish government policy consists of three distinct regimes of practice and show how they subject CSR to different modes of rationalization and action. We conclude that the problem with public policy being split into three is not different as such, but the failure of each regime to recognize the value of the others. As a result, government tends to add to the confusion and opaqueness of CSR.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal of Business Ethics
    Issue number1
    Pages (from-to)33-47
    Number of pages15
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2015

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