1.1. The contribution of "Critical Management Studies" the study of CSR

Like other areas of managementqui was invested by the critical studies such as marketing (Morgan, 1992), accounting (Miller and O'Leary, 1986), operations research (Mingers, 1992), systems information (Lyytinen, 1992) and human resource management (Townley, 1993, 1994; Pezet, 2001; Igalens, 2002, 2005), CSR has recently been the subject of critical analysis. They aim to overcome the limitations of the functionalist approach by introducing new perspectives for analyzing the relationship between business and society. This subsection provides a brief summary of CMS applications to CSR namely: the Marxist-institutionalist approach Habermasian and post-colonial approach to CSR. This synthesis will place the Foucauldian approach in this critical current and stress the importance of mobilizing the context of power-knowledge questions for the renewal of CSR research.


1.1.1. CSR under the light of the theory critical

Two main approaches of critical theory have been mobilized for the analysis of discourses and practices of CSR: the Marxist-institutionalist and Habermasian approach based on recent work in political theory of J�rgen Habermas. We present these two approaches to better situate the approach based on the work of Michel Foucault. These different approaches have in common the critique of instrumental and auxiliary economic interests of CSR strategies, the analysis of power relations and new forms of control and the study of conditions of production of a dominant discourse on corporate responsibility.

1.1.1.1. Marxist-institutionalist approach to CSR: CSR as a hegemonic discourse which seeks to maintain the status quo

Through a Marxist-institutionalist perspective, Jones (1996) calls into question the theoretical foundations and practices of CSR. He criticizes the theoretical consistency, the domination of the empirical link between social performance and financial performance of the company and the emptiness of the concept and normative discourse on CSR. This author states that little research on CSR can claim as reflexive in their assumptions or the link between on the one hand these assumptions and other objects studied, the methodologies used, results or conclusions generated. This lack of reflexivity is explained by the fact that "the basic assumptions of CSR researchers are almost always functionalist" (Jones, 1996: 31). Their goal is to explain in rational social relations while providing practical solutions to ensure effective regulation and control of these relations. Jones (1996) concludes that the discourse on CSR vehicle, under the impact of institutional pressures, a powerful ideology that seeks to unify the consciousness of the whole society in order to maintain the status quo . CSR contribute to the ideological hegemony through which modern institutional arrangements are presented as serving the public interest when they actually serve the interests of a powerful minority relatively small. In the absence of effective public control modes, multinational companies exploit the idea of social responsibility to create and institutionalize new social and environmental rules are advantageous to them and allow them to avoid the common laws (and Descolonges Saincy, 2004).

1.1.1.2. Habermasian approach to CSR: The company as a political actor in the context of globalization

The Habermasian approach to CSR which is based on his "theory of deliberative democracy" redefines corporate citizen as a political actor in a globalized world characterized by dynamic change of the interaction between the state actors civil society and business (Scherer and Palazzo, 2007, 2008). This approach aims to challenge the liberal conception of CSR mainly represented by Friedman (1962) and "re-establish a political order where economic rationality is limited by the procedures and democratic institutions" (Scherer and Palazzo, 2007: in 1097). Indeed, in the current context of globalization, there has been a shift in policy-making political institutions to civil society actors. This transfer was marked by the emergence of "para-government activities". These activities are manifested by the exercise of direct pressure on NGOs and companies have become essential to the growth of consciousness of civil society actors who are increasingly suspicious and demanding vis-�-vis the company. This change of mode of governance is characterized by a decentralization of authority and the emergence of a political power of actors who are originally non-political and non-state actors such as NGOs, intergovernmental organizations and Multinational Enterprises, creating a global regime cosmopolitan (Beck, 2003). Thus, Scherer and Palazzo (2007) state that CSR should be discussed in the context of the emergence of institutions of governance beyond the nation-state. The Habermasian approach to CSR states that for a company to respond to new social demands, it must extend beyond compliance with the implicit social norms and expectations by opting in political processes to resolve global social and environmental problems (related to the fields public health, education, social security and protection of human rights for example), while ensuring transparency in the implementation of these political processes.


1.1.2. CSR under the light of postmodernism

After presenting the post-colonial approach of CSR developed by Banerjee (2000, 2003, 2004) and Banerjee and Linstead (2004), we will review three major studies in Business and Society which raised the Foucauldian approach namely Roberts (2001, 2003), Livesey (2002a, 2002b) and Livesey and Kearins (2002).

1.1.2.1. post-colonial approach to CSR: CSR as a framework that marginalizes less powerful stakeholders

By mobilizing the post-colonial theory in the study of the struggle of a community of native ( Mirrar ) North of Australia against the stationing on their land in a uranium mining company, Banerjee ( 2000) questions the ability of the stakeholder theory, as the dominant analytical framework for CSR, to represent the interests of the natives as a legitimate stakeholder. It shows that the process of stakeholder management is influenced by Western economic rationality and therefore constitutes a new form of colonialism for the traditional owners of the Jabiluka area. Thus, despite opposition from Aboriginal organizations and environmental protection in the construction of the mine, the Australian government gave the green light to the mining company to begin construction. The stakeholder theory and supports a form of colonialism that serves to further marginalize the indigenous communities since they are regarded as legitimate stakeholders who have urgent needs but lack power (Banerjee, 2003, 2004, Banerjee and Linstead, 2004). The case of the Jabiluka mine finally shows that CSR as a general framework does not allow a critical study of the consequences of managerial decisions on the various stakeholders (Banerjee, 2000).

1.1.2.2. Foucauldian studies in the field of CSR

According to Starkey (2005), it is the CMS researchers who have played the biggest role in the development of the Foucauldian approach in the field of management since the late 1980s. In Business and Society , it is essentially Roberts (2001, 2003), Livesey (2002a, 2002b) and Kearins and Livesey (2002) who mobilized this critical perspective.

a- setters and individualizing effects of CSR practices

Based on the work of Michel Foucault's disciplinary power, Roberts (2001) studied the effects setters and individualizing of recent reforms in the field of corporate governance. These reforms are essential objective of promoting transparency and visibility of business conducted through the adoption of new standards and accounting practices and especially the provision of information about their environmental and social policy.

Setters and individualizing effects of power were analyzed by Foucault in his book Discipline and Punish . To explain the genesis of the prison as punishment exclusive mode, Foucault emphasized the constitution in the 18th century a set of techniques of power that he called "disciplines". These techniques aim to invest the body and the life of the individual to organize and manage, and take this to the forces of the individual and maximize his life while reducing its power of resistance. Based on this Foucauldian analysis, Roberts (2001) distinguished two disciplinary effects are related to new accounting practices in the field of corporate governance (such as reporting non-financial) and tools of CSR (such that codes of conduct).

The first effect refers to the creation of a field of visibility to people at work that are directly confronted with the use of tools of CSR and climate monitoring that these tools generate and whose objective is to encourage individuals Topics to be acting in reference to standards and codes of ethical conduct: it is the normalizing effect . The second effect refers to the individualizing effects of these tools and practices of CSR. These individualized "by creating a narcissistic preoccupation with self and how its activities will be perceived and judged" (Roberts 2001: 1553). This author asserts that the majority of social technologies produce effects similar discipline. "What these technologies share is the process through which individuals are compared, differentiated, hierarchized, homogenized and excluded. Taken together, these processes are used to 'normalize' and 'individualization', occurring in these subjects in a visible area of concern defensive or self-insured and how the self is perceived "(p. 1552). Sanctioning authority individualising and normalizing because it performs a double movement of singular identity formation and evaluation of these identities in terms of a collective entity which is the population (Mercier, 2005). Foucault explains that each individual is particularized with respect to a standard that is supposed to represent the population. These reports can thus both proceed to a normalization that is to say at a homogenization of the individual against a standard and an individualization that is to say a specification of its difference with regard to this standard . This difference - or abnormal - is what allows this mode to be able to have control over the individual to operate a normalization still incomplete.

In a later article published in the journal Organization , Roberts (2003) studied another effect individualizing tools and practices of CSR. Early in his analysis, this author believes that the recent explosion of interest in social responsibility of business is partly explained by the emergence of new mechanisms of external visibility and the manner in which these mechanisms are able playing on the vulnerability of identity and corporate reputation. The answer to them is to develop codes of ethics with an internal communication and training associated with them and the production of social and environmental reports that complement their financial reports. In addition, another activity increasingly developed by these firms is to interact with their partners and most often with the most violent criticism. This is indicative of "developing an "ethical accounting" that reflects the financial accounting established by these companies "(Roberts, 2003: 256). This author states that what is at stake through the mechanisms of exposure associated with this new "accounting ethics" is the image and identity of the company: how others perceive the company.

In this context, Roberts (2003) states that by opening the conduct of business in a wide range of visibility, which includes a concern for the ethical, social and environmental activities, new disciplinary regimes can be considered as an advanced the hegemony of "shareholder value" or at least an important redefinition of these terms. These plans or have disciplinary mechanisms individualizing effects on those who are their subjects as they install a new "competitive ethic" at the division of the company: "'my division is more durable than yours',' my social programs are more beneficial than its own ',' my ethics is more worthy of reward than that of my colleagues "(Roberts, 2003: 258).

b- The political nature of discourse on sustainable development

In considering the first social report of the Royal / Dutch Shell, entitled "Profits and Principles : is there really a choice ? "Livesey (2000b) found the contours of an emerging discourse on sustainable development and the dynamics of power-knowledge entrained by non-financial report. She used the method of discourse analysis that has been influenced by the work of Michel Foucault, for studying the phenomenon of reporting in a social context of socio-political struggles associated with sustainable development. Through this analysis, the objective of Livesey (2000b) was threefold. First, revealing the links between discourse and changing social practices associated with sustainable development. Second, reveal aspects of the dynamics of power-knowledge at stake in this discursive field. Finally, show how the Shell group was first resisted and has adapted to change. The use of Livesey (2000b) to discourse analysis is explained by the fact that this methodology focuses on the constitutive effects of discourse, knowledge, identity and power relations and gives the researcher the means by which it can illuminate the role of public discourse developed by organizations in the maintenance of organizational legitimacy and influence the stability and the institutional and social changes. The objective of this methodology is to uncover aspects ambivalent, contradictory, and privileging hegemonic texts to reveal the fluid and dynamic nature of discourse and its role in social change . The author obtained the data for analysis from sources publiquesqui include the office of external affairs for Shell International, companies operating locally, the websites of companies and interviews with senior executives between 1996 and 2000. Method of discourse analysis developed by Fairclough (1992: 4), "any discursive event (any example of speech) is considered to be simultaneously part of a text, an instance of discursive practice and an example of social practice. " He argues that this method therefore requires attention to three levels of analysis:

- The language;

- The discursive practices related to production, distribution and interpretation of texts, including some formal characteristics of texts;

- And the social discursive practices that provide the context for particular discursive events.

We will show in what follows that these three levels of analysis are mutually related. Understanding the actual content of text requires to locate them in their institutional context, social and historical (including knowledge systems they embody) and inversely the understanding of macro contexts is informed by the interpretation of texts:

1 - To analyze language texts, Livesey (2002b) conducted the coding of speech for all executives of Shell and Shell International social relations (including the text of the report Elkington in 1998) by identifying and categorizing prominent themes, metaphors, modes of expression and structures of arguments. She attached particular importance to the examples nonconformists, to variation and change in tone;

2 - The second level of analysis required the evaluation of the formal report, referring to the large corpus of texts from Shell to identify the characteristics of discourse and discursive practice of the company. The author has identified patterns of language, rhetorical patterns and discursive resources that indicate specific ways to build the ecological dilemma and green capitalism that are related to discourse of sustainable development. This level of analysis also includes the identification of specific formal conventions such as the choice of the kind of social reporting, the positioning of the report as a dialogue and integration of text independent consultant John Elkington[1] . These characteristics formed the interpretive positions of the author and readers of the report and produced special relations of power-knowledge;

3 - On the third level of analysis, the Brundtland report and the conditions under which the discourse of sustainable development has emerged is the relevant context. Sustainable development provides an example of inter-discursivity (Faircloufgh, 1992) because it combines discursive orders of the economy, environmentalism and social ethics, each with its particular language, cognitive commitments, its rules, practices and institutional structures.

The method described above showed that the function of reporting societal Shell is to establish the philosophy of this group in terms of sustainable development and to institutionalize the concepts of social and environmental responsibility and transparency in the heart of reflections on Sustainable Development (Livesey, 2002b; Livesey and Kearins, 2002). Livesey (2002b) also showed that the discourse on sustainable development has closely deconstructs the economic views of social progress and produced changes in social practices of the Shell Group. In addition, the reporting shows the relationship societal power-knowledge. The fact that Shell includes the text of the expert consultant John Elkington in his reporting has produced social legitimacy and authority to his efforts. Therefore, standardizing the practice of development, the reporting will contribute to societal emphasis on expert knowledge when it marginalizes other forms of interest and knowledge.

In this perspective, Livesey (2002a) analyzed the texts of Exxon Mobil (published in newspapers or on its website) and in particular the practice of discursive infomercial is "a discursive production that serves to support and expand the power / institutional knowledge "(p. 133). Through this study, it showed that the knowledge produced by actors such as Exxon Mobil and its institutional allies (such as economists, scientists anti-Kyoto) as well as economists and scientists to the Kyoto Protocol has helped to provide each of them as powerful special way so that the power they hold can legitimize the knowledge they produce. "In this context, the economic discourse of Exxon Mobil may be seen as legitimizing and stabilizing the market and its rules so that delegitimize radical environmentalism, government action and climate science" (Livesey, 2002a: 141 ).

Following these analyzes, and mobilizing the Foucauldian approach, Livesey (2002a, 2002b) and Kearins and Livesey (2002) emphasized the political nature of discourse on sustainable development and its recursive relationship to action and showed that Sustainable development is an area of ??disagreement and socio-political struggles in which the speeches opposing paradigms economic, social and environmental development are interrelated. In addition, annual reports, speeches by leaders and public discourse in organizational (which include the social relationship) are important means by which firms maintain their legitimacy and influence the stability and the social and institutional change.


1.2. The relevance of the Foucauldian approach for reviewing CSR as a process of power-knowledge[2]

Although the importance of Foucauldian analysis as a new framework for the reorientation of research questions in CSR has been emphasized by Jones (1996), Roberts (2001, 2003), Livesey (2002a, 2002b), and Kearins Livesey (2002 ) and Aggeri and al. (2005), it has not been a thorough and systematic understanding. We will show in the subsequent subsections that the Foucauldian perspective of power-knowledge - with its two dimensions: monitoring techniques and techniques of government - provides a conceptual toolbox to study in depth the power effects of discourse on CSR and overall management practices associated with it. We will argue the tracks renewal theory and research questions that this perspective of analysis to generate better understanding of how knowledge on CSR, the mechanisms of its release, the effects of power and its implications at the micro level (individuals and enterprise) and macro (society)[3] . It should be noted that the micro level of analysis refers to the organizational effects of speech and tools of CSR and the macro level of analysis refers to their societal effects.


1.2.1. disciplining techniques on speeches and tools of CSR

The interest of Foucauldian analysis is that it helps to understand the effects of power linked to the creation of a field of view of the activities of organizational actors (Townley, 1994; Roberts, 2001). Roberts (2001) uses this framework to study the effects of recent reforms in the field of corporate governance that aim to promote transparency and visibility for their conduct through the adoption of new accounting standards and especially communication of information by companies on their environmental and social policy. As we have previously pointed out, at the organizational level, the author distinguishes two disciplinary effects that are related to these new standards. The first effect refers to the creation of a field of visibility to people at work that are directly confronted with the use of tools of CSR and climate monitoring that these tools generate. Individuals must "freely" adopt the standards and codes of conduct to be considered and recognized as citizens organizational performance: is the effect normalizer . The second effect refers to the individualizing effects of these tools and practices of CSR. These individualized "by creating a narcissistic preoccupation with self and how its activities will be perceived and judged" (Roberts 2001: 1553).

These disciplinary processes are highlighted by Foucault (1975: 236) that "he who is subjected to a field of view, and who knows, associated himself with the constraints of power, he makes them play spontaneously upon himself and he enrolled in itself the power relationship in which he simultaneously plays both roles, he becomes the principle of his own subjection. " The interest of the Foucauldian analysis of disciplinary process is to show that "the individual is probably the atom fictional representation" ideology "of society, but it is also a reality fabricated by this specific technology of power called the "discipline" '(Foucault, 1975: 227). In addition, supporting the expansion of the global economic sphere, and the discourse of CSR tools allow the emergence of new faces at the organizational level such as employees of subcontractors and subsidiaries in less developed countries. This visibility is accompanied by a judgment, comparison, categorization and homogenization of individuals and groups. Taken together, the management tools of CSR have a "normalizing" effect and 'individualizing', shaping the self and the lives of individuals in the workplace by measuring the gaps and thus establish the differences, especially in terms performance between individuals (Roberts, 2001). This analytical framework therefore seems appropriate to study the effects of disciplinary CSR tools. For example, codes of conduct are a management tool that aims to "embody the norm by individuals and oversight by self-examination and, therefore, know that the individual product itself also based monitoring techniques " (Pezet, 2004: 176). This allows us to make the following proposal:

Proposal 1 : Speeches and CSR tools are tools for the development and accumulation of knowledge about people at work. By making visible their actions, these instruments are intended to standardize the behavior of individuals and shape their subjectivities.

At a societal level, the first aspect of power-knowledge framework used to analyze the effects of power of CSR practices and particularly the reporting social and environmental (Roberts, 2003). He argues that these "accounting forms" of CSR management, which aim to quantify and measure the social performance of the company, contribute to the broadening of corporate visibility of ethical, social and environmental. The reporting of CSR can be considered a new mechanism of external visibility which has the effect of classifying entreprisesselon performance societal context of creating a "competitive ethic" in the words of Roberts (2003), which can affect the reputation companies to investors, rating agencies and banks. The notation is also a way to create a "common collective consciousness" that encourages companies to respect the rules of socially responsible behavior. This justifies our second proposal:

Proposition 2 : The practice of CSR (eg reporting environmental and social) are mechanisms which increase transparency and visibility of actions and business results. Their effects on corporate reputation and its relations with its various stakeholders.


1.2.2. techniques of government associated with discourses and tools CSR

At this level, we note the absence in the management literature, an application framework of governmentality to the analysis of discourses and practices of CSR at the organizational level. However, we will mobilize some ideas presented by Aggeri and al. (2005) to analyze the process of knowledge construction by HR professionals or other experts in CSR or sustainable development, and their role in structuring the scope of organizational actors to make them governable. Indeed, Aggeri and colleagues (2005) emphasize the importance of adopting a Foucauldian approach to sustainable development allows the researcher to have an internal perspective, "the business situation in Action, which strategies that govern, and whose speeches on sustainable development can be analyzed in terms of their practical limits of these rationalizations and they seek to lead "(p.3). Supporting a specific political rationality, the discourse on CSR can produce and reproduce continuously individual citizens, useful and disciplined. These individuals are constituted as subjects through normative practices and techniques for monitoring, evaluation and moral commitment, related to CSR. These techniques of government involve "the exercise of an intellectual form of control made ??possible by those who, by their position in the organization have an information on individuals and events that are distant" (Sanchez et al. , 2005: 185).

The effectiveness of the techniques of government is based on the extent to which the subjectivities of employees are shaped to meet the goals and values ??of companies developing CSR strategies by complying with codes of conduct. The subjugation of individuals is done so by the construction of subjectivities that commit them to align with the rationality of the company and its performance targets societal and financial. In this regard, individuals bear more obligations recurring audit and evaluation to enhance compliance with standards, procedures and codes of conduct symbolizing rationality of CSR. Control is often discrete and implicit in the sense that there is not only a disciplinary powers of surveillance but also a commitment, more or less free of organizational actors in a game of truth is to say, "a set of procedures that lead to a certain result, which can be considered according to its principles and its rules of procedure, as valid or not, win or lose "(Foucault, 1994: 725)[4] . These players, whose behaviors are made ??visible, measurable and classifiable, will govern their own self as well as others who are in their sphere of influence. The discourses and practices of CSR can therefore create standards of conduct for matters governed, so they develop a self independent of the immediate exercise of all forms of authority.

Proposition 3 : The rationality associated with speech and tools of CSR reflects a strategy seeking to structure the scope of the employees so that their aspirations and behaviors are aligned with corporate goals and they s' engage in ongoing monitoring of self and others in relation to standards and codes of conduct.

At a societal level of analysis (macro), we will use the application framework of governmentality developed by Merlingen (2003) to study the power exercised by the International Governmental Organizations (IGOs) on their partners. We then illustrate the relevance of this theoretical framework for analyzing the role played by rating agencies in non-financial influence choice of socially responsible investors. Indeed, Merlingen (2003) retains two contributions of the framework of governmentality Foucault. First, this framework emphasizes the interaction between structuring discourses and practices constituting an incitement to study governance as (1) a discursive project that refers to the creation and deployment of a specific vocabulary to design and governance activities as (2) a set of practices that refer to the use of a set of management tools to make this operational vocabulary. Second, this framework allows to study the techniques of government exercised by OGI on their partners in terms of (1) "political rationalities" that delineate the discursive field in which the activities of OGI can be designed, and (2) "political technologies" which refers to modes of domination, control and influence that make this speech operational.

By adopting this approach, applying the framework of governmentality to a societal level of analysis is to study the influence of rating agencies on non-financial activities and strategic corporate decisions. The mission of these agencies rating the financial evaluation of policies and measures implemented by companies in the social and environmental. The extra-financial evaluation is aimed at socially responsible investors who take into account in their investment choices ethical standards, respect for the environment and social rights (Acquier, 2007a). It results in "a score or an overall score which positions the company on a rating scale, mostly sectoral"[5] . In addition to this scoring system, agencies rating Financial have developed since the early 1990s ethical financial indices which are visible indicators of social performance and environmental responsibility. The extra-financial indicators associated with ethical therefore allows investors to distinguish between companies in a particular industry, to classify them according to their degree of social performance and make a selection. The non-financial rating allows to produce knowledge on business . In the name of true knowledge, which takes the form of rank, noteet scores, and that excludes one chooses. In this regard, the framework of governmentality provides the conceptual tools to analyze the influence of rating agencies' decisions on the activities and business decisions and thus provide some answers to questions of Acquier (2007a) which bears the ability of the tools rating and financial understanding to prescribe the behavior of the organization being evaluated. This leads finally to issue the following proposal:

Proposition 4 : The techniques of government exercised by the various stakeholders on the company can create a knowledge that guides the evaluation and selection of companies based on standards and CSR scores.

To better illustrate the relevance of the Foucauldian perspective for reviewing the CSR process as power-knowledge, the table below offers two important avenues for development of theoretical studies that fall within the scope Business & Society according to whether we place ourselves in the first or second aspect of power-knowledge relationship that we have just presented and in which is positioned at a level of micro and macro analysis of discourses and practices of CSR.



[1] John Elkington is co-founder of Sustainability is a British consulting firm specializing in the field of corporate social responsibility and sustainable development. He invented the concept of "Triple Bottom Line" or the "Triple Bottom Line" to refer to both the financial result of the company but also its social and environmental. The term is an allusion to the " Bottom Line " (last line of the balance sheet), that is to say the bottom line.

Source: CSR news site (http://www.rsenews.com/public/dossiers/glossaire.php). Accessed on 23/10/2009.

[2] Most of this section is based on a paper presented as part of the XVIII Congress of the Francophone Association of Human Resource Management and later published in the journal Financial Control Strategy . El Akremi, A., Dhaouadi, I. and Igalens, J. (2008), "The corporate social responsibility in the light of Critical Management Studies : Towards a new framework for analyzing the business-society relationship, Financial Control Strategy, Vol. 11 (3), 65-94.

[3] The distinction between micro levels of analysis (firm) and macro (society) draws on the work of Acquier (2007a).

[4] M. Foucault (1994), "The ethics of care of the self as a practice of truth," in Said and writings 1954-1988 , Paris, Gallimard, Volume 4, 1980-1988, 708-729.

[5] The website Novethic is a center of resources and expertise on corporate social responsibility and socially responsible investment. URL: www. novethic.fr. Accessed on 30/09/2009.

Source: ChinaStones - http://china-stones.info/free-essays/business/critical-management-studies.php



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