Ethics in Action
Edited by Mats Jutterström and Peter Norberg
Chapter 6: CSR consultants in interaction with industry
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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