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Journal Articles European Management Review Year : 2008

Social issues in the study of management

Doug Guthrie
  • Function : Author


The last 30 years have seen an explosion of activity in the areas of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and social enterprise. With these emergent corporate practices has come a significant amount of attention among scholars and practitioners to how we should understand this phenomenon. What forces have driven managers and owners to re-think their responsibilities as extending beyond profit maximization and increasing shareholder value? In this paper, we introduce some of the key issues that have guided research on the social issues of management over the last 30 years. We argue that, despite the growing strength of research in this area, there are four key ways in which we would like to see scholarship in this area develop further: (i) Scholarship in this area should incorporate a greater appreciation for the institutional history in which these practices have emerged. Research in this area tends to be ahistorical, and it is often the case that corporate social practices have emerged because of deep-seated institutional struggles. (ii) Scholarship should rely more on comparative analysis to illuminate the importance of the contexts in which these practices emerge. (iii) Scholarship should engage more thoroughly with the legal and finance literatures on corporate governance. Many of the issues that fall under the 'social issues of management' rubric are fundamentally issues of corporate governance, and while some management scholars have embraced the corporate governance literature, research on the social issues of management rarely draws upon this important body of work. (iv) Methodological plurality is key to thinking through the mechanisms that drive organizational practices, and we would like to see more work in this area that employs multi-method approaches to examine the organizational practices.

Dates and versions

hal-00457924 , version 1 (18-02-2010)



Rodolphe Durand, Doug Guthrie. Social issues in the study of management. European Management Review, 2008, Vol. 5, n° 3 (Autumn 2008), pp. 137-149. ⟨10.1057/emr.2008.17⟩. ⟨hal-00457924⟩


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