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 31: Managing the past responsibly: a collective memory perspective on responsibility, sustainability and ethics

Sébastien Mena and Jukka Rintamäki

Abstract

Thus far, responsible management and related areas, such as corporate social responsibility (CSR), sustainability and business ethics, have largely ignored that past beliefs about what is considered (ir)responsible are reconstructed over time. In this chapter, we address this oversight and develop a collective memory perspective that acknowledges the reconstruction of responsibility, sustainability and ethics over time, as a result of ongoing mnemonic struggles between a variety of actors including business firms and their managers, as well as other stakeholders, like civil society groups and the media. We show how the contemporary understanding of (ir)responsibility is contingent upon mnemonic struggles over what the past should encompass, as well as mnemonic work, different remembering and forgetting practices, the (re-)interpretation of mnemonic traces and the cultural context in which these processes take place. We outline key issues and concepts that should be taken into consideration in the practice of responsible management, where issues related to the past are concerned. We contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of responsible management that attends to a responsible management of the past, as well.

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