Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have the potential to combine social objectives with trading activities, while social reporting represents a tool for disclosing NGOs' peculiarities. Although the number of NGOs adopting social reporting is increasing, research is still lacking on the relationships between firms and NGOs and their impacts at the government level, at which policy makers must both favour social/environmental commitments and ensure that NGOs pursue their core objectives, also when carrying out trading activities. This paper investigates the challenges of policy making in this field by analysing NGOs in Italy, the first country to make social reporting compulsory. We randomly selected 20 social reports from the Italian NGO register to analyse eight components regarding the disclosure of their impact. The results show that a compulsory requirement leads to a paradox, given the trade-off between stakeholder engagement principles on the one hand and disciplinary power and accounting as action at a distance principles on the other, leading NGOs to account for their output rather than for their impact. We thus contribute to the literature about NGOs and corporate social responsibility (CSR), delineating the relevance of a paradox perspective. To the best of our knowledge, this is the only study to apply this perspective to the analysis of CSR and sustainable development trajectories in NGOs.

NGOs, corporate social responsibility and sustainable development trajectories in a new reformative spectrum: 'New wine in old bottles or old wine in new bottles?'

Antonucci G.
Secondo
2021-01-01

Abstract

Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have the potential to combine social objectives with trading activities, while social reporting represents a tool for disclosing NGOs' peculiarities. Although the number of NGOs adopting social reporting is increasing, research is still lacking on the relationships between firms and NGOs and their impacts at the government level, at which policy makers must both favour social/environmental commitments and ensure that NGOs pursue their core objectives, also when carrying out trading activities. This paper investigates the challenges of policy making in this field by analysing NGOs in Italy, the first country to make social reporting compulsory. We randomly selected 20 social reports from the Italian NGO register to analyse eight components regarding the disclosure of their impact. The results show that a compulsory requirement leads to a paradox, given the trade-off between stakeholder engagement principles on the one hand and disciplinary power and accounting as action at a distance principles on the other, leading NGOs to account for their output rather than for their impact. We thus contribute to the literature about NGOs and corporate social responsibility (CSR), delineating the relevance of a paradox perspective. To the best of our knowledge, this is the only study to apply this perspective to the analysis of CSR and sustainable development trajectories in NGOs.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11564/773190
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