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Aurélien Acquier is Associate Professor in the Department of Strategy, Organizational Behaviour and Human Resources on the ESCP Europe Paris Campus. He currently teaches corporate strategy and organizational dynamics.
In collaboration with various national and multinational companies, his research focuses on the relationships between sustainable development, corporate strategy and institutional change. At the organizational level, he investigates the link between sustainability and innovation management. This “internal” perspective is complemented by an institutional analysis, where he investigates various standard-setting processes and the development of a CSR industry.
Aurélien Acquier is the author of various articles and communications, and co-author of the book Organizing Sustainable Development (Edward Elgar Publishing, forthcoming). He graduated from ESSEC Business School with an M.Sc. in management. He also earned a joint M.Sc. in organizational theory from University Paris-X, ESCP Europe, Ecole des Mines de Paris and Ecole Polytechnique and a Doctorate from Ecole des Mines de Paris.
Sustainability management models
Until the late nineties, the scope of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) or Sustainable Development (SD) was restricted to areas such as individual ethics or public policy. Ten years later, such concepts appear as mainstream management objects. In spite of abundant tools, methods and self declared experts in the field of sustainability, many questions remain concerning the ultimate scope and potential of CSR initiatives.
In order to understand the meaning, scope and issues related to sustainability/CSR programs, we investigate the development of various management models in that field. We question the potential and limits of an approach centred on stakeholder responsiveness and external control, and explore a more strategic perspective, founded on innovation management.
Standardization and market-building in the field of CSR
In the field of corporate sustainability and responsibility, action cannot be analyzed properly by focusing only on internal dynamics. Indeed, CSR and sustainability issues often raise the question of the “rules of the game” in a given organizational field. Consequently, a second research strand deals with standardization and market building processes in the field of CSR. CSR standardization initiatives are all the more interesting as they exacerbate new ways of elaborating collective rules (multi stakeholder initiatives, voluntary standards, etc.) which raise many questions related to their elaboration and the efficiency of such processes.
History of CSR thought and practices
The issue of corporate sustainability needs to be put into perspective within an historical account of the relationship between business and society. Consequently, one of my research themes deals with the history and genealogy of Corporate Social Responsibility. This historical approach has led to the rediscovery of the Howard Bowen’s 1953 contribution on CSR.
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