Journal of Business & Society Special Issue Call for Papers:


Submission Deadline: August 6, 2018

Guest Editors:

· Sameer Azizi, Roskilde University & Copenhagen Business School (Denmark), sa.msc

· Tanja Börzel, Otto-Suhr-Institute for Political Science, Freie Universität Berlin (Germany),tanja.boerzel

· Hans Krause Hansen, Copenhagen Business School (Denmark), hkh.msc

· Dima Jamali, Olayan School of Business, American University of Beirut (Lebanon),dj00


This special issue seeks to advance the growing body of literature on business responsibilities in countries where the state in various ways is less consolidated than in the vast majority of Western countries. A recent review (Jamali & Karam, 2016) highlights how current perspectives on CSR, business ethics and sustainability are insufficient to comprehend the complex contextual conditions of business responsibility in the global south. While there has been an increasing focus and insistence on contextualising CSR in such regions (Halme, Roome, & Dobers, 2009; Jamali & Karam, 2016; Prieto-Carrón, Lund-Thomsen, Chan, Muro, & Bhushan, 2006), mainstream theoretical approaches to CSR are largely driven by normative assumptions about the role of the state and business in Anglo-Saxon and other Western contexts (Banerjee, 2008; Blowfield, 2005).

Such assumptions, however, are not readily transferable to non-western countries, especially developing countries. Some of the current debates about CSR argue that neo-liberal policies have led to a ‘retreat’ or ‘shrinking’ of the state resulting in ‘governance gaps’ or ‘regulatory vacuums’ for business to potentially fill in (Matten & Moon, 2008; Scherer & Palazzo, 2011; Scherer, Rasche, Palazzo, & Spicer, 2016). Other studies stress that states are still playing important but different roles in the governance of business-society relations in advanced economies of the world (Whelan, 2012). Yet what is clear from these various conversations and debates is that they presume a particular historical development to ‘statehood’ and ‘business’ to explain business-society relations that not all nations have experienced. Responsible forms of business engagement within developing countries evolve in the context of state configurations and involvement and broader national business systems that differ considerably from what is commonly encountered in the West (see Hall & Soskice, 2001; Howell, 2003).

The static and Eurocentric view on ‘statehood’ often implied in studies of business responsibility therefore needs to be problematized in order to advance our knowledge of the matter. For such endeavour we draw on concepts from the recent literature on governance in ‘Areas of Limited Statehood’ (Börzel & Risse, 2010; Risse, 2011). This literature differentiates between degrees including characteristics of statehood and generally makes a distinction between statehood and governance. Whereas more consolidated statehood exists in most Western countries, in many other countries statehood is in various ways limited. Here, “the central authorities (national governments) lack the ability to implement and enforce rules and decisions and/or lack the legitimate monopoly over the means of violence” (Krasner & Risse, 2014, p. 549). Nonetheless, areas of limited statehood do not necessarily suffer from a complete lack of social coordination and/or provision of collective goods (Krasner & Risse, 2014). First, limited statehood can have different dimensions. For example, limited statehood can be the characteristic of a circumscribed geographic space within a country (i.e. a sub-region), and not of the country in its entirety. Limited statehood may also mainly be pertaining to a sector (a policy field such as health, sanitation or security) and/or to a segment of the population, which is structurally or culturally excluded from goods delivered by the state. There may also be a temporal aspect to limited statehood, such as in cases of natural or human-caused disasters that challenge the governance capacities of the state. Second, irrespective of the degree or multidimensionality of limited statehood in the case in question, other actors than the state, including businesses, NGOs or international organization, can and do often provide social coordination and/or collective goods. In other words, limited statehood is not equivalent to the absence of governance. Nonstate actors can act as functional equivalents for state-driven government. Moreover, information and communication technologies may help governments and non-state actors filling governance vacuums and voids (Livingston & Walter-Drop, 2014). However, only more conceptually informed empirical research can show how much, in what forms and under what circumstances (Azizi & Jamali, 2016; Jamali & Karam, 2016).

Studies on business-society relations in Areas of Limited Statehood have explained the engagement of business in social responsibility with reference to the logics of appropriateness and consequences (Börzel & Risse, 2010). While the former stresses international stakeholder pressures or market competition conditions, the latter suggests that corporate self-interest (Thauer, 2014) ultimately drives CSR engagement in the developing world. Recent work (Jamali, Karam, Yin, & Soundararajan, 2017) highlights the prevalence of multiple logics tied to different institutional orders that interact in complex ways as they influence CSR adaptations in context, thus resulting in uniquely shaped forms of local CSR expressions in different developing countries.

Such findings have triggered a growing debate on whether simple frames of reference anchored in Anglo-Saxon traditions can contribute to our understanding the complexities of responsible business engagement in developing countries and other non-western contexts. With our starting point in this debate we call for further research that helps unfold the heterogeneity of areas of limited statehood and discuss their implications for responsible business engagement. Our focus on governance by, with and without the state underscores how imperative it is to develop analytical tools that can help understand the crucial roles of formal and informal nonstate actors in areas of limited statehood, as well the complex governance processes shaping understandings and practices of business responsibility. The emphasis on governance of business responsibility in areas of limited statehood represents a promising field for novel theorizing, which can be combined with or discussed through the lens of other relatively novel concepts to the study of business responsibility and related issues, such as governmentality (e.g. Hansen, 2011; Vallentin & Murillo, 2012). In general we invite scholars to investigate the intersection of state power, governance mechanisms, and business responsibility while recognizing the complex interactions between them in shaping peculiar forms of responsible business engagement in developing countries.

While conventional theories on governance and CSR are largely insensitive to social realities and contextual power dynamics in the south, new and more critical paths of scholarship are needed to better understand the complex dynamics governing and shaping business responsibility in non-Western contexts and especially in the developing world. This special issues invites for dialogue between various scholars working within and across the fields of business studies, development studies, studies of international politics and the global political economy, broadly conceived, which can lead to novel insights into the complexities and realities of business responsibility in these non-mainstream contexts.


More specifically, we call for papers that address one or more of the below questions and issues, which should not be considered an exhaustive list of possible perspectives:

1. How can we theorize the nature, boundaries and perspectives of business responsibility in areas of limited statehood? Are MNC, for instance, accountable – and to whom? Their shareholders, their workers, the local community in which they operate?

2. How do we empirically investigate business responsibility in areas of limited statehood, taking the various contextual governance mechanisms and peculiarities into consideration? In what sense can we talk about business responsibility at all in these contexts, and what are the normative implications of doing so?

3. What global and local actors are governing business responsibility and accountability in areas of limited statehood? What types of local non-state actors (e.g. informal elites and factions in local communities, armed groups, local informal civil society organisations, local landowners, farmers and workers) and global non-state actors (e.g. multinational firms, INGOs, UN and donor agencies and other informal regional actors) do businesses engage with in areas of limited statehood?

4. How do businesses engage with other non-state actors to address business responsibility in areas of limited statehood? What are the forms that these engagements take?

5. In turn, under what conditions and circumstances do businesses engage with national and local state actors in areas of limited statehood? In what ways and to what extent have the latter bought into Western liberal ideas and institutional forms, if at all?

6. What challenges and conflicts of interest do businesses face when addressing responsibility in areas of limited statehood with (multiple) state- and non-state actors? What issues and risks are businesses perceiving and addressing, and in what ways? What are the opportunities and gains for businesses in terms of responsible engagement?

7. Can technology enable governments, businesses and other non-state actors to overcome challenges of governance in areas of limited statehood? How do businesses utilize technology (e.g. information & communication technology) to govern business responsibility with or without other non-state/state actors in areas of limited statehood?

8. What are the broader economic, social and political implications and impact of corporate engagements within and with respect to the functioning and future development of areas of limited statehood?


Full paper submissions for the open call should be submitted latest by 12 PM GMT, on August 6, 2018. The papers should be original work that have not been submitted for publication or published elsewhere. Authors should submit their manuscripts through ScholarOne Manuscripts at:

Manuscripts should be prepared following the Business & Society author guidelines:

Authors should ensure to select this special issue in the submission system. All articles will be subjected to double-blind peer review and editorial process in accordance with the policies of Business & Society. If you have any queries about the submission to the journal, please contact one of the co-editors.


The guest editors will, in collaboration with the Governing Responsible Business Research Environment at Copenhagen Business School, arrange a paper workshop to support potential authors in developing their papers. To be considered for the workshop, short papers (max. 10 double-spaced pages, excluding references and exhibits) should be submitted to sa.msc (Sameer Azizi) latest by 29 January 2018. The guest editors will select a number of promising short papers for the special issue workshop to take place in end-April 2018 and notify the workshop participants. The guest editors will seek funding to cover travel costs for participants coming from global south. Please note that participation in the workshop does not guarantee acceptance of the paper for publication in the special issue, as the workshop is not a precondition for submission of a full paper to the Special Issue. All interested scholars are welcome to submit full papers to the special issue at the submission deadline in August 6, 2018.


Sameer Azizi ( sa.msc ) obtained his PhD from Copenhagen Business School in 2017 and is employed as post-doctoral researcher at Roskilde University. In his doctoral research he conducted a critical study of Corporate Social Responsibility in areas of limited statehood by focusing on the mobile telecommunications industry in Afghanistan. He has published book chapters and a journal article on development-oriented CSR in areas of limited statehood.

Tanja A. Börzel ( tanja.boerzel ) is Professor of Political Science and holds the Chair for European Integration at the Otto-Suhr-Institute for Political Science, Freie Universität Berlin. She is co-coordinator of the Research College "The Transformative Power of Europe" as well as the H2020 Collaborative Projects “EU-STRAT – The EU and Eastern Partnership Countries: An Inside-Out Analysis and Strategic. Assessment” and “EU-LISTCO – Europe’s External Action and the Dual Challenges of Limited Statehood and Contested Orders“. Her recent publications include “Business and Governance in South Africa. Racing to the Top?” (Palgrave, 2013, co-edited with Christian Thauer), “The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Regionalism” (Oxford University Press 2016, co-edited with Thomas Risse), and “The Oxford Handbook of Governance and Areas of Limited Statehood” (Oxford University Press 2018, co-edited with Thomas Risse).

Hans Krause Hansen ( hkh.msc ) is Professor of Governance and Cultural Studies at Copenhagen Business School. His research focuses on new modes of public and private governance, organizational irresponsibility, corruption control and transparency regimes. His publications span a variety of social science disciplines including international political sociology, organization studies, and culture and communication studies. He is the author (with Dorte Salskov-Iversen) of Critical Perspectives on Private Authority in Global Politics (Palgrave 2008), Managing Corruption Risk (in Review of International Poltical Economy, 2011), The Politics of Transparency and the Calibration of Knowledge in the Digital Age (in Organization, 2015, with Mikkel Flyverbom) and Anti-Corruption Governance and Global Business (in A. Rasche, M. Morsing and J. Moon, Corporate Social Responsibility: Strategy, Communication and Governance, Cambridge, 2017).

Dima Jamali ( dj00 ) is Professor in the Olayan School of Business, American University of Beirut and currently holding the Kamal Shair Chair in Responsible Leadership and serving as Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development. She has a PhD in Social Policy and Administration, from the University of Kent at Canterbury, UK. Her research and teaching revolve primarily around Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Social Entrepreneurship (SE). She is the author/editor of four books (CSR in the Middle East – Palgrave, 2012; Social Entrepreneurship in the Middle East – Palgrave 2015; Development Oriented CSR – Greenleaf 2015; and Comparative Perspectives on Global Corporate Social Responsibility – IGIForthcoming 2016), and over 70 international publications, focusing on various aspects of CSR in developing countries in general and in the Middle East region specifically.


Business & Society is one of the leading journals at the intersection of business and society, covering issues of social responsibility, ethics and governance. It is published by Sage and is official journal of the International Association of Business and Society. Its current Citation Impact Factor is 3.298 (2017). It was ranked 31 out of 121 journals in the 2016 Journal Citation Reports® and is a 3-rated journal in the 2015 UK Association of Business Schools Journal Ranking Guide, a B-journal in the German Academic Association for Business Research, and an A-journal in the Australian Business School Dean’s list. For further details see


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