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Lauren McCarthy and Sébastien Mena

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.