Title

From surface to deep corporate social responsibility: the Malaysian no plastic bags campaign as both social and organizational learning

Document Type

Article

Publication details

Cameron, R & Zen, IS 2016, 'From surface to deep corporate social responsibility: the Malaysian no plastic bags campaign as both social and organizational learning', Journal of Global Responsibility, vol. 7, no. 2, pp. 275-287.

Published version available from:

http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/JGR-04-2016-0010

Peer Reviewed

Peer-Reviewed

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to develop and explore the policy concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR) as a focus for sustainable development. To this end, it develops and explores the implications of a distinction between CSR as a marketing strategy and a more sustainable long-term commitment to changes in organizational culture and also society.

Design/methodology/approach – This a conceptual paper which develops a policy research framework for examining the CSR rationale as well as general concept as applied to the “plastic bags” public awareness campaign in the Malaysian case study. On this basis, its central inquiry approach is to develop and explore the distinction between surface and deep modes of CSR policy implementation as also related modes of social learning.

Findings – The findings from the conceptual inquiry recognize that corporations which fail to apply a deep rather than a surface commitment to their own CSR polices will sooner or later be judged on that basis by their customers as well as external stakeholders. Although CSR policies will always involve a corporate marketing focus, this is sustainable only if framed by a long-term organizational commitment to accountable change.

Originality/value – The paper makes, develops and further explores a basic accountability distinction between surface and deep modes of CSR as a management commitment, corporate policy implementation and related processes of corporate cultural change. This links to the paper’s associated innovation of linking CSR as both internal organizational learning and a larger sustainable development process of social learning.