Decent Work and Corporate Social Responsibility: Contemporary Debates about Human Rights and Paternalism in Organizations in Brazil and Portugal

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 4:00 PM
Room: 415
Oral Presentation
Caroline JACQUES , Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, PhD Student, Florianopolis, Brazil
Maria Soledad ETCHEVERRY ORCHARD , Sociology and Political Science, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Brazil
Maria Soledad Orchard ETCHEVERRY , PHD in Sociology. Professor at Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Brazil
The concept of decent work (ILO) has recently appeared in corporate social reports. The social relations in the interprise, the types of contracts, the regarding of diversity and gender equity are  themes emerging in business landscape.

Despite  international instruments for the promotion of human rights within the framework of corporate social responsibility (CSR), such as the Ruggie Report (UN) , national discussions and effective practices are not homogeneous. 

The CSR academic debate  revolves around  the perspectives on what is understood about the role of social organizations. In a skeptical approach, CSR integrates a new form of authoritarian paternalism whose motor function is masking the "real intentions" of corporations in their quest for higher profits (Thornton, 1966; Wells, 2002). On the other hand, there are currents that emphasize the relationship between the company and society, and the prospects that CSR takes to build the legitimacy of organizations in contemporary capitalism (Fremman, 1984).

The aim of this work is to investigate the influence of the guidelines of decent work in CSR in the national contexts between Brazil and Portugal, on a comparative basis. We investigated the existing regulatory guidelines for CSR through documentary research in corporate social reports and comparative studies of the relevant legislation. The results demonstrate that while human rights and decent work appear as topics of CSR agendas in both countries, in Brazil, the corporate actions are voluntary, whereas in Portugal, there are laws that reinforce the communication of business practices within the CSR and decent work.

Wells, P.: 2002.  Social responsibility: the new legitimation for totalitarian corporations? 10th Greening of Industry Conference, Goteborg, Sweden.

Thornton, A. P.: 1966 Habit of authority: paternalism in British history. London: Allen & Unwin.

Freeman, R. E.: 1984. Strategic Management: A Stakeholder Approach. Pitman: Boston.