CSR as a Management Idea
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CSR as a Management Idea

Ethics in Action

Edited by Mats Jutterström and Peter Norberg

CSR (corporate social responsibility) has become a widely diffused concept in the business world. This book explores CSR as a management idea, that is, as a tool for organizational reform. It shows that CSR has much in common with other popular management ideas such as lean production, total-quality-management, just-in-time, business-process-reengineering and six sigma, but there are also significant differences.
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Chapter 5: CSR and the consultancy sector – what is offered, and by whom?

Staffan Furusten, Andreas Werr, Matilda Ardenfors and Sabine Walter


Chapter 4 showed how management ideas, such as CSR, do not arise and spread on their own. Rather, the fact that organizations become aware of a particular idea is more a result of individual actors at a particular point in time beginning to demand, buy, produce, supply, market, sell, write about, comment on and consume a certain type of idea (cf. Furusten 2007). Management consultants have often been described as a driving force behind the emergence and diffusion of management ideas (Abrahamson 1991). However, research on how new services develop in consulting organizations (e.g. Anand et al. 2007; Heusinkveld and Benders 2005) gives us reason to question the image of consultants as isolated producers of management ideas, which are readily bought up by clients in need (cf. Furusten and Werr 2005, 2009). In this chapter, we wish to provide a nuanced view of the interaction of management ideas and the emergence of consulting services around these ideas. By shedding light on how the management idea of CSR has been received among suppliers of professional services, it is our aim to contribute to a better understanding of both CSR as a management idea and, more generally, of how management ideas emerge and spread. Previous research on management ideas and their relation to the consultancy industry has above all highlighted how consultants have contributed, in the initial stage, to the emergence and diffusion of ideas (Furusten 1999).

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