Edited by Oliver Laasch, Roy Suddaby, R. E. Freeman and Dima Jamali
Chapter 12: Responsible governance: broadening the corporate governance discourse to include positive duties and collective action
Responsible governance increasingly poses a multi-sector, multi-level challenge for managers. It relates to the effective management of a large number of societal interfaces along which companies, government and civil society organizations have to develop distinct means, ways and principles for dealing with sustainability issues. Most sustainability issues supersede the boundaries of the archetypical roles and primary responsibilities of each of the societal spheres (state, market, communities) from which organizations tend to derive primary responsibilities. Hybrid organizational forms are maturing that have taken up these challenges, but these face sizable governance challenges as well. The corporate governance discourse consequently requires both broadening and nuance. The agenda for ‘responsible governance’ should thereby not only deal with traditional corporate governance issues – aimed at correcting improper or irresponsible behaviour – but should also consider how to address wider issues of sustainability, aimed at driving and stimulating positive responsible behaviour. This contribution shows that this challenge requires parallel insights from two angles: a macro and a micro point of view. We construct a societally founded taxonomy of organizational forms and conceptualize four tiers of responsible governance challenges for organizations to delineate an agenda for further research. The four tiers of governance can function as ‘threshold concepts’ to enhance management and professional education.
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