Business and NGOs in interaction: a quest for corporate social responsibility

Ph.D. researcher: M. van Huijstee defended her thesis on 16 April, 2010. 

The dissertation aspires to advance the understanding of both collaborative and confrontational business-NGO interactions as mechanisms for corporate social responsibility (CSR). The research reveals that as a consequence of their interaction, both companies and partnering NGOs have developed organisational strategies, policies and structures. In turn, these organisational consequences of business-NGO interactions shape and canalise the interactions, forming more stable patterns and developing standardised rules and procedures. This indicates a gradual institutionalisation of collaborative business-NGO interactions as CSR mechanisms. The dissertation provides examples of companies and NGOs collaboratively creating innovative business models that have real potential to mitigate the socially and environmentally harmful effects of business operations and/or enhance the positive effects. Furthermore, it shows that confrontational interactions are also capable of shaping and spreading CSR, although they are not expected to ever become institutionalised as mechanism to develop CSR. Next to the opportunities provided by business-NGO interactions to proliferate CSR, they have some inherent limitations as well, leading to the conclusion that when internalisation of CSR into business is the ambition, governments remain crucial actors in the equation.

The dissertation can be downloaded here.