Research Handbook of Responsible Management
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Research Handbook of Responsible Management

Edited by Oliver Laasch, Roy Suddaby, R. E. Freeman and Dima Jamali

Outlining origins of the field and latest research trends, this Research Handbook offers a unique and cutting-edge take on the numerous avenues to responsible management in the 21st century. Renowned contributors present iconic viewpoints that have formed the foundation of responsible management research, introducing cutting-edge conceptual lenses for the study of the responsible management process.
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Chapter 43: Institutional work and (ir)responsible management

Lauren McCarthy and Sébastien Mena

Abstract

This chapter examines the institutional work individuals perform towards responsible management practices, which we term ‘responsibilization work’. Reviewing existing research, we show how responsibilization work includes changing norms, creating new standards and creating new markets for responsible management. We demonstrate how different actors – not just managers or firms – are involved in responsibilization work, and how we need to examine its consequences, both intended and unintended. Notably, we stress that individuals may also work to maintain the status quo, i.e. to protect institutions and their practices considered irresponsible, unsustainable and unethical. We suggest that future research on institutional work and responsible management should: (1) address substantive social change (not just symbolic adoption); (2) not only focus on prominent institutional workers such as managers, but take a more encompassing interactionist perspective, and (3) take an explicit normative stance on whether institutional work is beneficial or detrimental, by surfacing power relations.

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