The visible hand of consultants in the construction of the markets for virtue: Translating issues, negotiating boundaries and enacting responsive regulations
Brès, Luc; Gond, Jean-Pascal (2014), The visible hand of consultants in the construction of the markets for virtue: Translating issues, negotiating boundaries and enacting responsive regulations, Human Relations, 67, 11, p. 1347-1382. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0018726713519278
TypeArticle accepté pour publication ou publié
Journal nameHuman Relations
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Abstract (EN)Although the resurgence of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has been described as the development of ‘markets for virtue’, little is known about the social construction of CSR markets. Prior works either focus on the economic potential of these markets or criticize the social commodification they reflect, denying them any virtue other than generating profit or maintaining the capitalist status quo. This article uses the case of the market for CSR consultancy in Québec to make ‘visible’ the hand of management consultants in the creation of markets for virtue. Building on interviews with 23 consultants and secondary data, we relate three narrative accounts that highlight complementary facets of the construction of the market for CSR consultancy. Our narratives shed light on three distinctive roles of CSR consultants as social and environmental issues translators, market boundary negotiators and responsive regulation enactors. These roles clarify the regulative dynamics underlying CSR commodification and advance our understanding of consultancy work in the CSR domain.
Subjects / KeywordsResponsabilité sociétale des entreprises; Gouvernement d'entreprise; Conseillers de gestion; Droit souple; Commodification; Compliance; Corporate social responsibility; Governance; Management consultants; Responsive regulation; Soft law
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