Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 93, Supplement 2, pp 163–179 | Cite as

Corporate Social Responsibility and Societal Governance: Lessons from Transparency in the Oil and Gas Sector



This article evaluates the potential of the current Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) agenda for addressing issues related to societal governance. The investigation focuses on the experience of the oil and gas sector, which has been among the leading industry sectors in championing CSR. In particular, the article analyses the issue of revenue transparency, which has been the principal governance challenge addressed by multinational oil and gas companies. The article suggests that (1) tackling governance challenges is crucial to addressing the impact of corporate activities; (2) current CSR and policy initiatives are entirely insufficient in addressing governance challenges and (3) corporate activities may be contributing to governance failures.


Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) EITI gas governance oil multinational companies transparency 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Alt, J. E. and D. D. Lassen: 2006a, ‘Transparency, Political Polarization, and Political Budget Cycles in OECD Countries’, American Journal of Political Science 50(3), 530-550.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alt, J. E. and D. D. Lassen: 2006b, ‘Fiscal Transparency, Political Parties, and Debt in OECD Countries’, European Economic Review 50(6), 1403-1439.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bell, J. et al.: 2004, ‘Sao Tome and Principe Oil Revenue Management Law - Oil-Revenue Management Team of the Columbia University Consulting Group to H.E. The President of Sao Tome and Principe’, (Columbia University, New York).Google Scholar
  4. Besley, T. and A. Prat: 2006, ‘Handcuffs for the Grabbing Hand? Media Capture and Government Accountability’, American Economic Review 96(3), 720-736.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Blowfield, M. and J. G. Frynas: 2005, ‘Editorial: Setting New Agendas - Critical Perspectives on Corporate Social Responsibility in the Developing World’, International Affairs 81(3), 499-513.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chen, M. E.: 2007, ‘National Oil Companies and Corporate Citizenship: A Survey of Transnational Policy and Practice’ (The James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy, Rice University, Houston, TX).Google Scholar
  7. Collier, P. and A. Hoeffler: 1998, ‘On the Economic Causes of Civil War’, Oxford Economic Papers 50, 563-573.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Collier, P. and A. Hoeffler: 2000, ‘Greed and Grievance in Civil War’, Policy Research Working Paper No. 2355 (World Bank, Washington, DC).Google Scholar
  9. Corden, W.M.: 1984, ‘Booming sector and Dutch disease economics: Survey and consolidation’, Oxford Economic Papers 36, 359-380.Google Scholar
  10. Economist Intelligence Unit: 2006, ‘Country Profile 2006 - Azerbaijan’ (Economist Intelligence Unit, London).Google Scholar
  11. Elbadawi, I. and N. Sambanis: 2000, ‘Why Are There So Many Civil Wars in Africa? Understanding and Preventing Violent Conflict’, Journal of African Economies 9(3), 244-269.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Extractive Industry’s Transparency Initiative (EITI): 2008, EITI Website at Accessed 18 July 2008.
  13. Frynas, J.G.: 1998, ‘Political Instability and Business: Focus on Shell in Nigeria’, Third World Quarterly 19(3), 457-479.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Frynas, J. G.: 2004, ‘The Oil Boom in Equatorial Guinea’, African Affairs 103(413), 527-546.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Frynas, J. G.: 2005, ‘The False Developmental Promise of Corporate Social Responsibility: Evidence from Multinational Oil Companies’, International Affairs 81(3), 581-598.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Frynas, J. G.: 2008, ‘Corporate social responsibility and international development: critical assessment’, Corporate Governance: An International Review 16(4), 274-281.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Frynas, J. G. and K. Mellahi: 2003, `Political Risks as Firm-Specific (Dis) Advantages: Evidence on Transnational Oil Firms in Nigeria', Thunderbird International Business Review 45(5), 541–565Google Scholar
  18. Frynas, J. G., K. Mellahi, and G. Pigman: 2006, ‘First Mover Advantages in International Business and Firm-Specific Political Resources’, Strategic Management Journal 27, 321-345.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Frynas, J. G. and M.L. Paulo: 2007, ‘A New Scramble for African Oil? Historical, political, and business perspectives’, African Affairs 106(423), 229-251.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gelb, A. et al.: 1988. Oil Windfalls: Blessing or curse (Oxford University Press, New York).Google Scholar
  21. Gelos, G. and S.J. Wei: 2005, ‘Transparency and International Portfolio Holdings’, Journal of Finance 60(6), 2987-3020.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Getz, K. A.: 1993, ‘Selecting Corporate Political Tactics’, in B. M. Mitnick (eds.), Corporate Political Agency: The Construction of Competition in Public Affairs (Sage, Newbury Park).Google Scholar
  23. Glennerster, R. and Y. Shin: 2003, ‘Is transparency good for you, and can the IMF help?’ (International Monetary Fund, Washington DC).Google Scholar
  24. Gould, J. A. and M. S. Winters: 2007, ‘An Obsolescing Bargain in Chad: Shifts in leverage between the government and the World Bank’, Business & Politics 9(2), 1-34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Gulbrandsen, L. H. and A. Moe: 2005, ‘Oil Company CSR Collaboration in “New” Petro-States’, Journal of Corporate Citizenship (20), 1–12.Google Scholar
  26. Gulbrandsen, L. H. and A. Moe: 2007, ‘BP in Azerbaijan: A test case of the potential and limits of the CSR agenda?’, Third World Quarterly 28(4), 813-830.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Gylfason, T.: 2001, ‘Natural resources, education and economic development’, European Economic Review 45, 847-859.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Henriques, A.: 2007, Corporate Truth - The Limits to Transparency (Earthscan, London).Google Scholar
  29. Heywood, A.: 2002, Politics, 2nd edition (Palgrave, Houndmills).Google Scholar
  30. Hillman, A. J. and M. A. Hitt: 1999, ‘Corporate Political Strategy Formulation: A Model of Approach, Participation, and Strategy Decisions’, Academy of Management Review 24(4), 825-842.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Hojman, D.E.: 2002, ‘The political economy of Chile’s fast economic growth: An Olsonian interpretation’, Public Choice 111(1/2), 155-178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Karl, T. L.: 1997, The Paradox of Plenty: Oil Booms and Petro-States (University of California Press, Berkeley, CA).Google Scholar
  33. Karl, T. L.: 2005, ‘Understanding the Resource Curse’, in S. Tsalik and A. Schiffrin (eds.) Covering Oil (Open Society Institute, New York).Google Scholar
  34. Keen, D.: 1998, ‘The Economic Functions of Violence in Civil Wars’, in Adelphi Paper (Oxford University Press, Oxford).Google Scholar
  35. Keim, G. D. and C. P. Zeithaml: 1986, ‘Corporate Political Strategy and Legislative Decision Making: A Review and Contingency Approach’, Academy of Management Review 11(4), 828-843.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Kojucharov, N.: 2007, ‘Poverty, Petroleum & Policy Intervention: Lessons from the Chad-Cameroon Pipeline’, Review of African Political Economy 34(113), 477-496.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Leite, C. and J. Weidmann: 1999, ‘Does Mother Nature Corrupt? Natural Resources, Corruption and Economic Growth’ (International Monetary Fund, Washington DC).Google Scholar
  38. MacDonald, K.: 2007, ‘Globalising Justice within Coffee Supply Chains? Fair Trade, Starbucks and the transformation of supply chain governance’, Third World Quarterly 28(4), 793–812.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. McWilliams, A., D. D. Van Fleet and K. D. Cory: 2002, Raising Rivals’ Costs Through Political Strategy: An Extension of Resource-Based Theory. Journal of Management Studies 39(5), 707–723CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Mitnick, B. M., (ed.): 1993, Corporate Political Agency: The Construction of Competition in Public Affairs (Sage, Newbury Park).Google Scholar
  41. Olson, M.: 1965, The Logic of Collective Action - Public Goods and the Theory of Groups (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA).Google Scholar
  42. Pegg, S.: 2006, ‘Can policy intervention beat the resource curse? Evidence from the Chad-Cameroon pipeline project’, African Affairs 105(418), 1-25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Ray, D. M. (1972) Corporations and American Foreign Relations. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 403 (1), 80–92CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Rose-Ackermann, S.: 1999, Corruption and Government (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge).Google Scholar
  45. Ross, M. L.: 1999, ‘The Political Economy of the Resource Curse’, World Politics 51(2), 297-322.Google Scholar
  46. Ross, M. L.: 2001, ‘Does Oil Hinder Democracy?’, World Politics 53(3), 325-361.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Rosser, A.: 2006, ‘Escaping the Resource Curse’, New Political Economy 11(4), 557-570.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Sachs, J. D., and A. M. Warner: 1999, ‘The Big Push, Natural Resource Booms and Growth’, Journal of Development Economics 59(1), 43-76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Sachs, J. D., and A. M. Warner: 2001, ‘Natural Resources and Economic Development: The Curse of Natural Resources’, European Economic Review 45, 827-838.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Sarraf, M. and M. Jiwanji: 2001, ‘Beating the resource curse: The case of Botswana’ (The World Bank, Washington DC).Google Scholar
  51. Schattschneider, E.E.: 1935, Politics, Pressures and the Tariff - A study of free enterprise in pressure politics as shown in the 1939-1930 revision of the tariff (Prentice Hall, New York).Google Scholar
  52. Shaffer, B. and A. J. Hillman: 2000, ‘The development of business–government strategies by diversified firms’, Strategic Management Journal 21(2), 175–190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Shankleman, J.: 2006, ‘Managing Natural Resource Wealth’ (United States Institute of Peace, Washington DC).Google Scholar
  54. Shi, M. and J. Svensson: 2002, ‘Conditional Political Budget Cycles’ (Stockholm).Google Scholar
  55. Shultz, J.: 2004, ‘Follow the money - A guide to monitoring budgets and oil and gas revenues’ (Open Society Institute, New York).Google Scholar
  56. Stevens, P.: 2005, ‘Resource curse and how to avoid it’, Journal of Energy and Development 31(1), 1-20.Google Scholar
  57. Tallontire, A.: 2007, ‘Who Regulates the Agri-food Chain? Towards a framework for understanding private standards initiatives’, Third World Quarterly 28(4), 775-791.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Transparency International: 2006, Global Corruption Report 2006 (Pluto Press, London).Google Scholar
  59. Transparency International: 2008, ‘Promoting Revenue Transparency - 2008 Report on Revenue Transparency of Oil and Gas Companies’ (Transparency International, Berlin).Google Scholar
  60. United Nations Conference on Trade and Development: 2007, ‘World Investment Report - Transnational Corporations, Extractive Industries and Development’ (United Nations, New York and Geneva).Google Scholar
  61. Usui, N.: 1996, ‘Policy adjustments to the oil boom and their evaluation: The Dutch Disease in Indonesia’, World Development 24(5), 887-900.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Utting, P.: 2007, ‘CSR and Equality’, Third World Quarterly 28(4), 697-712.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Valiyev, A. M.: 2006, ‘Parliamentary Elections in Azerbaijan: A Failed Revolution’, Problems of Post-Communism 53(3), 17-35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Vandewalle, D.: 1998, Libya since Independence - Oil and State-Building (Cornell University Press, New York).Google Scholar
  65. World Bank: 2003, ‘Striking a better balance: The World Bank Group and extractive industries - Final report of the Extractive Industries Review Vol.1.’ (World Bank, Washington DC).Google Scholar
  66. World Bank: 2008, ‘World Bank Statement on Chad-Cameroon Pipeline’, Press Release No: 2009/073/AFR, 9 September (World Bank, Washington DC).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Middlesex University Business School, The BurroughsLondonU.K.

Personalised recommendations