The Business Responsibility Matrix: A Diagnostic Tool to Aid the Design of Better Interventions for Achieving the SDGs
The University of Auckland Business School Research Paper Series
Multinational Business Review, 29(1), 1-20. https://doi.org/10.1108/MBR-07-2020-0154
28 Pages Posted: 21 Dec 2020 Last revised: 20 Feb 2021
Date Written: 2020
Purpose of this paper: The paper proposes an integrative framework that enables the mapping of firm activities along two dimensions of responsible business behavior: a width and a depth dimension. Width includes associative, peripheral, operational, and embedded responsibility. In terms of depth, we identify delinquent, neutral, nascent, enhanced, and advanced levels of responsibility.
Design/methodology/approach: The responsibility matrix is developed by drawing on the literature and the ambition to provide a more nuanced map of a firm’s activities and its contributions towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Findings: The matrix enables the classification of firm activities into different functional categories based on how they relate to a firm’s business model. Further, the meaningfulness of each activity can be identified by determining its depth. Research implications: Mapping all the relevant activities of a multinational firm onto the responsibility matrix enables managers and policy makers to identify areas where transformation is most needed. Further, multinational firms can use the matrix to map the activities of their value chain partners and design more effective standards and interventions.
Practical implications: The Business Responsibility Matrix represents a diagnostic tool that enables the detailed mapping of firm capabilities and the identification of areas where further capacity building is necessary, as well as where pockets of excellence exist.
Social implications: The responsibility matrix offers a benchmarking tool for progress that can be used in conjunction with existing guidelines and initiatives such as the United Nations (UN) Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the UN Global Compact, and the Global Reporting Initiative.
Originality/value: The responsibility matrix acknowledges that firms can engage with the SDGs through different types of activity (width dimension). Simultaneously, it recognizes that activities in the same category can have varying levels of effectiveness (depth dimension).
Keywords: corporate social responsibility (CSR); multinational enterprise (MNE); responsibility matrix; responsible business; Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); small and medium-sized enterprise (SME); suppliers
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