Corporate Social Responsibility: its past, its application within the Hong Kong Construction Industry and its possible future, Hong Kong

3 November, 2016 | 19:00 - 20:30

Looking into the past with corporate social responsibility.
Looking into the past with corporate social responsibility.

About this event

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), the responsibility of a corporation for the impacts of its decisions on society and the environment, originated as a term, concept and academic topic in America in the 1950s. Since then, its definition and scope have been controversially debated within academe and broader society.

The first part of the talk will very briefly trace its history over the past 60 years through to the publishing, in November 2010, of ISO 26000 “Guidance on Social Responsibility” which redefines “Social Responsibility” (“SR”) broadly, by reference to seven core SR subjects, and principles. ISO 26000 was intended to establish a common reference point for practitioners.

The second part of the talk is based on a paper presented in March 2015 at the 3rd ASEAN Australian Engineering Congress on Innovative Technologies for Sustainable Development and Renewable Energy and based on empirical research focused on the Hong Kong Construction Industry (“the HKCI”).

This part of the talk will present the results of a research project to investigate which, if any, ISO 26000 CSR issues are relevant to the HKCI firms, whether such relevance is firm-size dependant; whether they are similar to construction industry firms elsewhere; and, whether they are strategically driven. One of the principal findings was that, for large construction contractors, the ISO 26000 SR issues relating to health and safety in the workplace and to the environment are the most relevant.

The third part of the talk is based on a paper presented in July 2016 at the Accounting and Finance Association of Australia and New Zealand Annual Conference and looks at the theory of CSR as it has been reported in the evolving CSR literature and academic research during the last decade when it has transitioned from a ‘whether or not to’ to a ‘how to’ implement CSR debate. The principal theoretical findings are that the progression of the CSR construct is both variegational (based on newly introduced theories) and progressive (predominantly building on existing theories) and that the predominant theoretical theme is based on stakeholder theory.

The conclusion of the talk will reflect on the use of the scientific method to investigate past events in the social sciences based on the results of these two research projects and the potential to extrapolate from the past into the future to forecast possible future developments in the field of CSR and business ethics generally.

Capacity: 120

*Registration will be on a first-come-first-served basis and priority will be given to ICE members
*Only successful applicants will receive confirmation e-mail and be given attendance certificates.

Adverse weather arrangement

The seminar will be cancelled in case of Black Rainstorm Alert or above; or Typhoon Signal No. 8 or above being in force by the Hong Kong Observatory at or after 4:30 p.m.


Dr. Norman Croker FIE Aust

Dr. Norman Croker is a qualified Civil Engineer with many years of experience in construction in Hong Kong, Australia and in other parts of the world. He earned his Doctor in Business Administration at the University of Newcastle in 2013 and is a Fellow of the Institution of Engineers, Australia, the Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors and the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, amongst other institutions.

He has worked on many large civil engineering projects and has significant experience in large scale projects for which he either had overall responsibility or was employed in senior managerial positions. His interest in corporate social responsibility arose from a “healthy scepticism” of the concept and a desire to investigate how and to what extent it can be applied to Engineering undertakings.