Over the past four decades many European welfare states have seen an increasing involvement of the commercial sector in their mixed economies of welfare. One aspect of this development that has yet to be fully understood in social policy analysis is the engagement of businesses to address social problems, such as social exclusion, through activities labelled as 'corporate social responsibility' ('CSR'). Although CSR has gained increasing currency on both national and international policy agendas since the 1990s, it remains a topic which is predominantly researched in business schools and from a business perspective. This book aims to redress this imbalance by focusing on the social aspect of CSR. Based on interviews with a wide spectrum of people who work with CSR professionally in England, Denmark and in the EU Commission, the book argues that when CSR is linked to social exclusion it is a way of renegotiating responsibilities in mixed economies of welfare. The book also offers a comprehensive historical understanding of CSR as it traces the emergence and development of CSR in West European welfare economies as diverse as England, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Germany and France. By situating CSR within the conceptual framework of the mixed economy of welfare and using Historical Institutionalism as a theoretical perspective to explore and explain the relationship between the welfare state and CSR, this book makes an innovative contribution to critical debates in comparative social policy.
Jeanette Brejning is Honorary Fellow in the School for Policy Studies, University of Bristol, UK
'The contribution of CSR to the mixed economy of welfare has not been given the attention it requires and deserves in social policy analysis. This book seeks to put this right. It should be read by anyone with an interest in how corporations contribute (or should contribute) to the welfare of their various stakeholders in society, including students of social policy, public policy, the sociology of work, business and management studies and human relations.' Kevin Farnsworth, University of Sheffield, UK 'The idea of corporate social responsibility has acquired growing significance in a world where corporate power may now have greater influence over people's wellbeing and life chances than the power of nation states. Jeanette Brejning's new book explores the multiple meanings and underlying potential of an idea that has hitherto been largely neglected in the social policy literature.' Hartley Dean, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK 'Jeanette’s Brejning’s book discusses an important, yet frequently ignored, part of the corporate social responsibility (CSR) debate: the relationship between a firm’s social responsibilities and the welfare state. Discussing this topic is a much-welcomed addition to existing scholarly work on the nature and impact of CSR... Brejning’s detailed and well-written inquiry into the role of the welfare state looks at CSR less from a corporate angle, but instead explores its embeddedness into multi-actor governance structures reaching from state-based regulation to transnational soft-law mechanisms... Overall, the book offers a very interesting and refreshing journey into unexplored ’CSR territory’. For all those who look for scholarly perspectives that reach beyond the widespread discussions of CSR’s business benefits, this book has a lot to offer. Given that the relationship between CSR and the state is not yet sufficiently explored, this book is a must-read for anyone interested in developing a broader unders