Exogenously driven CSR: insights from the consultants' perspective

Authors

  • Antonis Skouloudis,

    1. Centre for Environmental Policy and Strategic Environmental Management, Department of Environment, University of the Aegean, Mytilene, Greece
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Konstantinos Evangelinos

    1. Centre for Environmental Policy and Strategic Environmental Management, Department of Environment, University of the Aegean, Mytilene, Greece
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

This paper offers insights into corporate social responsibility (CSR) consulting in Greece. It sheds light on perspectives of how socially responsible business conduct is shaped by consultancies in a national business environment where such an essential aspect of organizational commitment and behavior exhibits comparatively little resonance among companies and is primarily induced by supranational and international policy schemes as well as foreign competitors. Drawing from long interviews with consulting professionals, we explore key topics: the domestic CSR (consulting) industry's characteristics, issues pertaining to the engagement with clients, the endorsement of CSR standards and initiatives, along with the consultants' perspective on institutional dynamics and their prospects with respect to the future of CSR in Greece. In this context, we aim to indicate trends on CSR implementation, pressures exerted on consultants, and managerial attitudes towards corporate responsibility. Our findings illustrate an oligopolistically structured market that encourages consultancies to compete intensely, the consultants' limited capacity to influence the business behavior of their clients, with the latter to adopt a promotional communicative approach to CSR, as well as a lack of institutional coordination and mechanisms that will materially embed social responsibility in the strategic management of business.

Ancillary