Multinational firms are under pressure from multiple stakeholders to be socially and environmentally responsible. According to the Stern report issued by the U.K. government, The Economist, and the philosopher Joseph DesJardins, ecological sustainability could become the central social responsibility challenge for business. Thus, managers must be able to determine how their organizations can become more ecologically sustainable, socially responsible, and economically competitive.

This trend also raises profound research questions, crossing numerous fields in business administration and several social science disciplines. From a theoretical standpoint, it is interesting to note that researchers have attempted to model the antecedents and consequences of “responsible” behavior at the individual, organizational, industry, national, and societal levels. However, the theoretical literatures on this phenomenon are parallel and independent, which hinders our ability to understand the managerial and policy implications of corporate social responsibility and sustainability.

Two key research questions are: (1) how can social and environmental responsibility be implemented more effectively through integrated market and non-market strategies? and (2) how can the various business sub-disciplines (e.g., human resource management, management information systems, organizational behavior, marketing, and accounting) contribute to our understanding of the determinants of superior financial, social, and environmental performance?

Our objective in this special issue is to synthesize these parallel literatures and topical areas, in an effort to examine prudent, integrated management of financial, social, and environmental pressures. Unfortunately, key issues regarding frameworks, measurement, and empirical methods of social responsibility and sustainability have not yet been resolved because existing research has been too fragmented or focused at one particular level of analysis. For example, much research has been pursued at the firm level dealing with such issues as the relationship between corporate social performance and firm financial performance. However, less research has involved theories and variables at the individual level (e.g., factors pertaining to individual decision makers), or how such variables might relate to organizational-level phenomena (e.g., corporate social performance or sustainability).

This special issue will promote the concept of theoretical metatriangulation, as expressed in previous articles on theory building in the Academy of Management Review. Contributions from strategic management, organizational behavior, human resource management, organizational theory, economics, political science, sociology, moral philosophy, and other disciplines are encouraged.

Some research questions that might be addressed in this special issue include, but are not limited to, the following:

· What does it mean for an organization to be socially responsible and environmentally sustainable in the international arena? What is the social responsibility of global business? How can large, multinational companies become more sustainable? How do definitions of corporate responsibility and sustainability differ across countries?

· What adjustments in corporate structure, governance, reporting relationships, or incentives might facilitate the integration of financial, social, and environmental domains of business activities?

· Why might socially and environmentally responsible companies perform better or worse financially than organizations that show little concern for their social and ecological environments? What are the moderating and mediating factors that affect these relationships?

· Can socially responsible organizations actually change societies? How might organizational commitments to ecological sustainability change societies or individual attitudes?

· How can theories of social identity, (ethical) decision making, and pro-social/positive organizational behavior contribute to more comprehensive causal models in this area?

· How are corporate social responsibility and sustainability related to leadership qualities and other characteristics of top executives, or systems pertaining to them (such as executive pay structures)?

· What is the best way to measure and evaluate social and environmental performance?

· What are the relationships between corporate social responsibility, environmental sustainability, firm reputation, and organizational culture/identity?

· How can theories of sustainability, corporate social responsibility, and integrative social contracts inform each other for mutual theoretical benefit—in domestic and international arenas?

· What are the human resource management implications of corporate social responsibility and environmental sustainability?

· Is consumer demand for corporate social responsibility driven by the same factors as consumer demand for corporate environmental sustainability? What does this demand imply for organizations’ strategic positioning?

Paper Procedure: Submissions to the Special Issue should be sent electronically to Professor Marc Orlitzky at, Professor Donald Siegel , and Professor David Waldman before June 1st, 2009. The format of the papers must follow Business and Society guidelines.

We also propose to hold a Special Issue Workshop, where each paper that is presented will be reviewed and discussed by one of the special issue editors. While all submitted papers will go through the regular double-blind journal review process, we believe that a face-to-face encounter at such a workshop will result in better papers. Participation in the workshop will not be a necessary condition for acceptance into the Special Issue, but we will strongly encourage all potential authors to attend the workshop. In this regard, we have secured funding for the workshop, enough to cover housing and meals for invited authors (one per paper). The final set of papers would then be selected from those resubmitted after the workshop.

Sponsor: University at Albany, State University of New York


The tentative timetable for the special issue is:

June 1, 2009: Paper submitted electronically to co-editors

July 30th, 2009: Authors notified if their paper is chosen for special issue workshop

Late September 2009: Special Issue Workshop (with assigned discussants) to be held at the University at Albany, SUNY

January 1, 2010: Revised papers due (incorporating discussant and external reviewer comments)

Deadline: June 1, 2009

Issue Date: June 1, 2009

Contact Info: Marc Orlitzky
Phone: (814) 949-5772

© 2009, Tracey de Morsella. All rights reserved. Do not republish.

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Author: Tracey de Morsella (323 Articles)

Tracey de Morsella started her career working as an editor for US Technology Magazine. She used that experience to launch Delaware Valley Network, a publication for professionals in the Greater Philadelphia area. Years later, she used the contacts and resources she acquired to work in executive search specializing in technical and diversity recruitment. She has conducted recruitment training seminars for Wachovia Bank, the Department of Interior and the US Postal Service. During this time, she also created a diversity portal called The Multicultural Advantage and published the Diversity Recruitment Advertising Toolkit, a directory of recruiting resources for human resources professionals. Her career and recruitment articles have appeared in numerous publications and web portals including Woman Engineer Magazine,, Job Search Channel, Workplace Diversity Magazine, Society for Human Resource Management web site, NSBE Engineering Magazine,, and Human Resource Consultants Association Newsletter. Her work with technology professionals drew her to pursuing training and work in web development, which led to a stint at Merrill Lynch as an Intranet Manager. In March, she decided to combine her technical and career management expertise with her passion for the environment, and with her husband, launched The Green Economy Post, a blog providing green career information and covering the impact of the environment, sustainable building, cleantech and renewable energy on the US economy. Her sustainability articles have appeared on Industrial Maintenance & Plant Operation, Chem.Info,FastCompany and CleanTechies.