chapter  7
16 Pages

Positioning the plural ethos of cosmopolitanism in global organizations

Under the condition of globalization and its transnational governance challenges, a critical analysis of the role of multinational companies (MNCs) in global organizational assemblages is needed. This discussion is starting, as can be observed by the recent interest, in moving corporate social responsibility (CSR) into a political CSR (Scherer and Palazzo, 2007). Here, the main argument is that many MNCs take up a political role, filling the institutional void of global governance concerning responsible business practices. Along with the nation-state’s decreasing role as regulator, MNCs – sometimes under public pressure – are engaging in activities that traditionally are regarded as governmental responsibilities such as labour standards, human rights, natural environment, public health or social security. Under the motto of sustainable management or CSR, they – or through private self-regulatory institutions – set codes of conduct, often in collaboration with non-governmental organizations to establish legitimacy for their selfregulatory behaviour (Doh et al., 2010; Gould, 2010; Scherer and Palazzo, 2011). This discussion on the political role of MNCs has only just begun (Mäkinen and Kourula, 2012; Whelan, 2012) and we believe that also international business and organizational scholars will start engaging with ethico-political questions of what it means to operate in a global world. Whereas in the

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2008), the current condition of globalization with its resurgence of exclusion and inequalities – and the increasing societal attention to sustainability – is likely to create ethical awareness and bring ethical questions to the foreground.