Stakeholders' Perceptions about Social Audit; Does It Works in the Developing Country Context?
This paper investigates the perceptions of social audit within the context of the garment companies of Bangladesh. The paper highlights two recent incidents that claimed the lives of about 1300 garment workers in Bangladesh. Based on the fact that Western clothing brands use social audits before sourcing their products from Bangladesh, this paper investigates if any real change happens as a result of the information provided via social audit reports.
The insights were gathered through conducting personal interviews with corporate managers, managers of social audit firms and various stakeholders of the textile and garment companies of Bangladesh. This paper used accountability theory to understand the perceptions of social audit.
The paper finds that different stakeholders have different perspectives regarding social audits. The high profile garment catastrophe within the supply factories of Bangladesh provided evidence that the social audits do not help prevent such catastrophes in a different socio-economic context. The results revealed stakeholders dissatisfaction about the procedures and contents of social audits.
The insights provided in this paper would benefit garments manufacturers of developing countries and relevant stakeholders to demonstrate more accountability while conducting social audit.
This is the first known paper investigating stakeholders’ perceptions about social audit within the context of a developing country. More importantly it focuses on responsible corporate behaviour in a socially sensitive industry.
Article Type: Research paper