Csr and Labor Unions

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Berlin, den 07.08.2012

Corporate Social Responsibility and Labor Unions
How do CSR and Labor Unions influence each other

Table of ContentTable of Content
1. Introduction:2
2. Development and General Perception of CSR3
3. Position of Labor Unions today5
4. Labor Unions on CSR5
5. The possible reciprocal influences of Labor Unions and CSR6 5.1 Possible influences of Labor Unions on CSR6
5.2 Possible influences of CSR on Labor Unions7
5.2.1 Reorientation of Labor Unions7
5.2.2 CSR as a cause for the decline of Labor Unions7
5.2.3 Alternative hypothesis for the decline9
6. Conclusion9
7. References:10

Amount of words: 2602

1. Introduction:
Corporate Social Responsibility or CSR is a topic and a concept of ever growing importance in our modern world. Nowadays you cannot study management or work in a company without being confronted by it. Another institution which even if in decline still plays a major role in our society are Labor Unions. Seeing as the two have certain aspects and concepts in common one question we should ask ourselves is how do the two influence each other. Do they complete one another? Do they hinder each other? Or do they not influence each other very much. In my essay I am going to take a look at these questions and try to answer them. The debate of the influence CSR and Labor Unions have on each other is not restricted to a specific geographical area, but a phenomenon that has been studied in America as well as Europe although with somewhat different findings and different focuses due to unlike historical backgrounds and economic systems (LMEs vs CMEs). However I will not focus on the reasons for deviating findings in America and Europe. Instead I am going to concentrate on exploring the different ways in which both influence each other and possible reasons for it. Furthermore in my essay I am going to take a specific look at the new notion put forward by some economists that management has actively used CSR as a tool to weaken Labor Unions. To be able to observe and understand how the two influence each other I will first take a short look at their individual history and then compare different economists' opinions on the affect they have on each other. Lastly I will shortly summarize my findings and draw a conclusion.

2. Development and General Perception of CSR
Broadly speaking there are two main theories trying to explain CSR practices: moral and instrumental. The notion of CSR as moral is based on the idea that companies want to give back to the community and act ethically correct. The instrumental notion seeks to explain CSR as an instrument used by organizations to achieve long term benefits and appear more attractive to potential customers. In the first case CSR is seen as something altruistic, whereas the latter one depicts CSR as a way of getting ahead (Doshi, Khokle 2012: 98). Based on these theories there are several different perceptions of CSR. One popular view on CSR of economists is that organizations are being pushed by outside forces such as the community and institutions like the government to adapt a CSR strategy. To them CSR seems like an obstacle to a company's profit and well being and as such should not be pursuit by a company (Guthrie 2012: 2). Another view rarely optioned for is of CSR as being established by management as a measure to seek legitimacy in a community. This view would lead to several repercussions regarding Labor Unions which I will further investigate in point 5.2.2. Some economists not only support the above mentioned thesis but go as far as to trace the development of CSR back to the very idea of CSR as leverage for management. Advocates of this thesis place the birth of CSR in America to1889 on account of the publishing of Andrew Carnegie’s significant pamphlet “The Gospel of Wealth”. In his pamphlet Carnegie's tries to convince other influential business men to commit acts of philanthropy and give back to their communities....
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