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Peter Herrmann

This article concerns challenges arising from the development of economic globalization as the so-called “creator of a new world order“ and its tendency to deteriorate the foundation of a global order in terms of social justice, solidarity, and human dignity. As main point of referral functions, the report of the "Commission Stiglitz, Sen and Fitoussi" on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress that refers to the European Commission's strategy of development, acknowledges the need for these values. On behalf of this reflection, this article is based on the recent outcomes of the exploration of these social quality issues in a recent published book by the Foundation on Social Quality. The article argues that indicators are needed in order to understand the effects of societal changes in response to the current economic globalization, which increases inequality and the fragmentation of the labor market.

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Measuring the Sustainability Performance of Our Decisions

The Best Practice Price Sustainability Metrics

H. J. (Huub) Lenders

Private and societal costs have their origin in the classic and neo-classic era. The market, based on private costs, ignores externalities, while actors fail to gain access to information on societal costs, causing a gap. The best practice price (BPP), a sustainability metric, can fill this information gap. Based on science and the weighted opinions of stakeholders, best practices for basic production factors such as land, labor, and natural resources are identified and their costs calculated. Producers can use these data to calculate the BPP of their products. Besides the market price (the price to be paid), the BPP is mentioned on the invoice and price tag as representing the costs of production according to the best practices. The ratio of market price (MP) to the BPP ‒ the BP ratio (BPR) – makes comparison of different products possible. Using the BPR, producers, public entities, and consumers can set goals for sustainable production or consumption.

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Alexander Riley

Jeffrey Alexander, Bernhard Giesen and Jason Mast (eds.), Social Performance: Symbolic Action, Cultural Pragmatics and Ritual, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006, 374 pp.

Ron Eyerman and Lisa McCormick (eds.), Myth, Meaning, and Performance: Toward a New Cultural Sociology of the Arts, Boulder: Paradigm Publishers, 2006, 166 pp.

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Sustainable Development as a Goal

Social, Environmental and Economic Dimensions

Vera Mignaqui

Scholars are researching how to assess a country's sustainable development performance. However, not many proposals differentiate the performance via the three dimensions of sustainable development: social, economic and environmental. This article proposes to assess a country's sustainable development performance in general as well as in each of the dimensions. It pursues three objectives: (1) identifying sustainably developed countries; (2) assessing the best performers in terms of sustainable development; and (3) understanding the relations between the dimensions. Results show a globally bad sustainable development performance, with no sustainably developed countries. They also show that the economic dimension is not the best performing dimension at a global level and that very high levels of gross national income (GNI) per capita usually imply a bad environmental performance.

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Mind the Gap

Seventeen Sightings of the “Social” in Economic Development Policy Writing

Ramond Apthorpe

Semantic codes constitute the world (or parts of it), not in a mechanistic “cause-and-effect” sense but through another type of linkage. This article explores some of the semantic code, the “semantic DNA,” of mainstream neoclassical economic development policy thinking and writing and looks at what that mode of thinking incorporates into its discourse as “social.” The various forms of the “social” in economics discourse add up, from a sociologist’s viewpoint, to disappointingly little: they mainly consist of a miscellaneous set of noneconomic aspects that mainstream economic thinking can use to blame for the policy-performance gap between what such thinking promises and what it often actually delivers.

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Peter R. A. Oeij, Steven Dhondt, and Ton Korver

Social innovation is becoming a core value of the EU flagship initiative Innovation Union, but it is not clearly demarcated as it covers a wide field of topics. To understand social innovation within European policymaking a brief outline is given of EC policy developments on innovation and on workplace innovation. Definitions of social innovation formulated at the societal level and the organizational or workplace level are discussed. Empirical research findings of workplace innovation in the Netherlands are presented as examples showing that workplace innovation activities boost organizational performance. The article explores the relation between workplace innovation and social innovation, and concludes that policy developments in the EU can be studied with the theory of social quality, provided that the latter in its empirical approach focuses on how individuals together constitute innovations.

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Social Justice through Enterprises

The End of the 1972/1973 Conjuncture? A Legal Perspective

Hagen Henrÿ

The article begins with reported data on social and economic imbalances and their negative effects on sustainable development. The state, the social partners, and enterprises such as cooperatives formerly organized democratic participation as the central mechanism through which social justice regenerates. Globalization makes them inoperative. That is why we have to reconsider the role of enterprises in general. Their responsibilities under the Global Compact and similar measures are not sufficient, unless they are made legally binding and are complemented by laws that link their structure to the aspects of sustainable development. The article singles out cooperatives and points to their features being approximated through legislation with the features of capitalistic companies, which negatively affects their sustainable development performance. The article concludes with remarks on the challenges for legislators, not least the outdated notion of competitiveness and a radically changing concept of enterprise.

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Recovering Durkheim's 'Second Program of Research'

Roy Rappaport and Jeffrey C. Alexander

Massimo Rosati

Durkheim's 'second program of research' above all refers to his project as developed in Les formes élémentaires de la vie religieuse. This essay examines how it has in turn been developed and taken up nowadays in the work of Roy Rappaport and Jeffrey Alexander. Both of them are concerned with the centrality of ritual and the sacred as active, constitutive elements not just of religion but of all social life, not least modern social life. However, a key difference between them can be found in the issue of the internal dimension of ritual and of the individual's participation in public performance of this. Rappaport emphasizes some sort of general notion of acceptance, in an effort to open up things and get away from the particular epistemological as well as theological commitments of the idea of belief. Alexander still appears to work with the modernist epistemology and 'Protestant' theology of belief. His project of a new Durkheimian cultural sociology has nonetheless itself opened up all kinds of things, and is one of the most creative and dynamic research programs in sociology nowadays.

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Investing in Workplace Innovation Pays Off for SMEs

A Regional Innovation Initiative from the Netherlands

Peter Oeij, Ernest de Vroome, Astrid Bolland, Rob Gründemann, and Lex van Teeffelen

From 2009 to 2013 the workplace innovation project “My Enterprise 2.0” was carried out in the region of Utrecht in the Netherlands in order to strengthen the workplace innovation capability of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Participating enterprises completed a questionnaire regarding the “workplace innovativeness” of their company. A workplace innovation intervention was then implemented by some of the companies, while other companies chose not to take part. At the end of the project, a second questionnaire indicated that those companies that implemented interventions had a significantly higher score with regard to overall workplace innovativeness. The companies without such interventions reported a small decrease. While the companies in the region had higher workplace innovativeness scores relative to a national reference group both before and after the project, the increase in the “workplace innovativeness” of the regional SMEs that experienced interventions suggests that the project proved beneficial to their continued “workplace innovativeness.” Moreover, these companies also reported positive effects on company performance, achieving company goals and improving labor productivity.

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Corporate Sustainability

An Academic Review

Varhese Joy

with societal inclusion without disturbing the natural environment. The existing literature recommended improving CS performance through the efficient use of resources, reduced waste, better economic performance, and increased goodwill (i.e., of the