Ethics in Action
Edited by Mats Jutterström and Peter Norberg
Chapter 6: CSR consultants in interaction with industry
Ethics in Action
As discussed in the previous chapter, the consulting market for CSR services has grown rapidly in recent years. Changes in the stake- holder relations of companies have created new needs. During the 1990s, shareholders took centre stage, as a part of the idea of ‘shareholder value’. In the years following the turn of the millennium, other stakeholders came to be assigned more importance than they had earlier, as a part of the idea of ‘CSR’. Having studied this as a consultant, in a dissertation dealing with shareholder value (Borglund 2006), I have been able to follow the changes made in practice. As a CSR communications adviser with the communications consulting firm Hallvarsson & Halvarsson, I have experienced the expansion of the consulting market up close. As stated in Chapter 1, consultants have a vested interest in promoting development in the field, something I have seen unfold and taken part in myself. Based on this, I shall discuss what the contacts between managements and CSR consultants look like, and why companies employ them. The idea of CSR can be viewed as a discourse, that is, as a ‘certain way of talking about and understanding the world’ (Winther Jörgensen et al. 2000). More specifically, CSR can be described as a macro discourse (Borglund 2006). A macro discourse is a shared way of looking at certain phenomena in society, and a system for formulating ideas in a certain time period (Alvesson and Kärreman 2000). CSR discourse can be contrasted with another discourse, namely that of ‘shareholder value’ (Borglund et al. 2009).
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