The Dark Side: critical cases on the downside of businessNovember 2009
Emmanuel Raufflet and Albert J Mills (eds). Greenleaf. 294 pages. Hardback. £24.95
CSR dominates the landscape of thinking about business and society, and in this landscape there are only sunlit uplands. This book focuses on things that haven’t gone well for companies, and in doing so provides a vital reality check.
Built around 16 varied case studies useful for teaching purposes, complete with questions for students to consider, it touches on areas such as staff exploitation, health and safety failures and poor community relations – covering small companies to large multinationals.
It describes in detail the story of an individual struggling to cope with the impossible work demands of the German company Lidl, and outlines how a Canadian water company ended up killing seven people and causing thousands to become sick. There is a description of Google’s relationship with censorship in China and an account of how good intentions led a company to dominate the local politics of a small French town. Some are gripping and harrowing tales and most are well-written with a detailed business context.
While editing of the material is sometimes uneven, and some case studies have been left deliberately unfinished, therefore leaving the reader unclear about final outcomes, this book begins to fill a large gap in the market. It is especially important for universities or businesses that wish to ensure those working in CSR understand that good ethical performance is not just about winning prizes.