Christopher Wickert
Associate Professor in Ethics & Sustainability, Director VU Center for Business & Society

Christopher Wickert is Associate Professor of Ethics & Sustainability and Director of the VU Center for Business & Society. He is also Research Director at the Department of Management & Organization at VU Amsterdam. His research examines corporate social responsibility (CSR) and corporate sustainability as well as the broader relationship between business and society by drawing on various strands of organization and management theory. Christopher's research is generally driven by his interest in how to organize societal transformation towards greater social and ecological sustainability.

Christopher obtained his PhD in Management from the University of Lausanne in Switzerland in 2013. During his doctoral studies, he has also conducted research and taught at University of Zurich, University of St. Gallen and at IESE Business School in Barcelona. Prior to becoming a researcher, he worked as a consultant with the United Nations Global Compact Office in New York. He holds an MSc degree in business administration from WHU Otto Beisheim School of Management in Vallendar, Germany.

In his research, Christopher explores different patterns of corporate social responsibility implementation in globally integrated companies, paying particular attention to how firm size influences the way companies organize CSR. Furthermore, Christopher has been studying a range of phenomena under the umbrella of CSR, such as the evolvement and diffusion of CSR standards, the influence of organizational identity orientation on the implementation of CSR practices, or the prevalent mismatch between CSR “talk” and CSR “walk” in small and large firms. Furthermore, he has investigated dynamics at the individual level of analysis by looking at CSR professionals inside large corporations and their concomitant struggles when selling CSR issues intra-organizationally. Christopher is also interested in Critical Management Studies (CMS), philosophy of science, business ethics, and social entrepreneurship. In 2019, he published a book with Cambridge University Press, "Corporate Social Responsibility (Elements in Business Strategy)", which provides a critical introduction to contemporary approaches to CSR.

He is also affiliated with Makerere University Business School in Kampala, Uganda, where he is involved in different research and capacity-building projects that aim to promote local CSR initiatives in rural agricultural value chains.

Christopher’s research has appeared in journals such as Academy of Management Discoveries, Business & Society, Harvard Business Review, Human Relations, Journal of Business Ethics, Journal of Management Studies and Organization Studies, as well as in several book chapters. He was an associate editor of Business & Society, and is currently an associate editor of the Journal of Management Studies and member of the editorial board of Business & Society.


Publications in peer-reviewed journals (selection)

  1. Wickert, C. (2021). Corporate social responsibility research in the Journal of Management Studies: A shift from a business-centric to a society-centric focus. Journal of Management Studies, 58(8), 1-17.
  2. Wickert, C., Post, C., Doh, J., Prescott, J., & Principe, A. (2021). Management research that makes a difference: Broadening the meaning of impact. Journal of Management Studies, 58(2), 297-320.
  3. Gröfke, N., Duplat, V., Wickert, C., & Tjemkes, B. (2021). A multi-stakeholder perspective on food labelling for environmentalsustainability: Attitudes, perceived barriers and solution approaches towards the “Traffic Light Index.” Sustainability.
  4. Theeuwen, A., Duplat. V., Wickert, C., & Tjemkes, B. (2021). How do women overcome gender inequality by forming small-scalecooperatives? The case of the agricultural sector in Uganda. Sustainability.
  5. De Bakker, F.G.A., Matten, D., Spence, L., & Wickert. (2020). The elephant in the room: The nascent research agenda on corporations, social responsibility, and capitalism. Business & Society.
  6. Kourula, A., Moon, J., Salles-Djelic, M.-L., & Wickert, C. (2019). New roles of government in the governance of business conduct: Implications for management and organizational research. Organization Studies, 40(8), 1101–1123
  7. Bres, L., Mosonyi, S., Gond, J.-P., Muzio, D., Mitra, R., Werr, A., & Wickert, C. (2019). Rethinking professionalization: A generative dialogue on CSR practitioners. Journal of Professions and Organization, 6(2), 246–264.
  8. Wickert, C. & de Bakker, F. G. A. (2018). Pitching for social change: Towards a relational approach to selling and buying social issues. Academy of Management Discoveries, 4(1), 1–
  9. Risi, D., & Wickert, C. (2017). Reconsidering the ‘symmetry’ between institutionalization and professionalization: The case of corporate social responsibility managers. Journal of Management Studies, 54(5), 613–646.
  10. Schneider, A., Wickert, C. & Marti, E. (2017). Reducing complexity by creating complexity: A systems theory perspective on how organisations respond to their environments. Journal of Management Studies, 54(2), 182–208.
  11. Wickert, C., Vaccaro, A. & Cornelissen, J. (2017). “Buying” corporate social responsibility: Organisational identity orientation as a determinant of practice adoption. Journal of Business Ethics, 142(3), 497–514.
  12. Wickert, C., Scherer, A. G. & Spence, L. (2016). Walking and talking corporate social responsibility: Implications of firm size and organizational cost. Journal of Management Studies, 53(7), 1169–1196.
  13. Wickert, C. (2016). Managing “political” corporate social responsibility in small- and medium-sized enterprises: A conceptual framework. Business & Society, 55(6), 792–824.
  14. Schaefer, S. & Wickert, C. (2016). On the potential of progressive performativity: definitional purity, re-engagement and empirical points of departure. Human Relations, 69(2), 215–224.
  15. Wickert, C. & de Bakker, F. G. A. (2015). Managerial struggles during practice implementation: The case of corporate social responsibility. Academy of Management Best Paper Proceedings, 1–7.
  16. Wickert, C. & Schaefer, S. (2015). Towards progressive performativity in critical management studies. Human Relations, 68(1), 107–130.
  17. Katamba, D., Nkiko, C., M., Tushabomwe-Kazooba, C., Babiiha, M. S., Imelda, K. & Wickert, C. (2014). Integrating corporate social responsibility into efforts to realize millennium development goals: lessons from Uganda. World Journal of Entrepreneurship, Management and Sustainable Development, 10(4), 1–25.
  18. Baumann, D., Wickert, C., Spence, L. & Scherer, A. G. (2013). Organizing corporate social responsibility in small and large firms: Size matters. Journal of Business Ethics, 115(4), 693–705.
  19. Haack, P., Schoeneborn, D. & Wickert, C. (2012). Talking the talk, moral entrapment, creeping commitment? Exploring narrative dynamics in corporate responsibility standardization. Organization Studies, 33(5/6), 813–845.


Books (monographs)

  1. Wickert, C., & Risi, D. (2019). Corporate Social Responsibility (Elements in Business Strategy). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.



  1. Wickert, C. (forthcoming). Strategizing Corporate Social Responsibility. In: Tjemkes, B., & Mihalache, O. (Eds). Transformative Strategies. London: Routledge.
  2. Wickert, C., Sieweke, J., & Ruotsalainen, R. (2019). Performance implications of management ideas. In: Sturdy, A., Heusinkveld, S., Reay, T. & Strang, D. (Eds). The Oxford Handbook of Management Ideas. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  3. Wickert, C. & Cornelissen, J. (2017). Corporate social responsibility and reputation: Too much of a good thing? In: Moon, J., Morsing, M., & Rasche, A. (Eds). Corporate Social Responsibility: Strategy, Communication and Governance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  4. Wickert, C. & Risi, D. (2017). Implementing corporate social responsibility as institutional work: Exploring the day-to-day activities of CSR managers in multinational corporations. In: Sales, A. (Ed). Corporate Social Responsibility – Institutional and Organizational Perspectives. Berlin: Springer.
  5. Baumann, D., Wickert, C., Scherer, A. G. & Palazzo, G. (2011). The UN Global Compact: Organizational implementation of corporate social responsibility in Swiss MNCs and SMEs. In: Boisson De Chazournes, L. & Mazuyer, E. (Eds). The Global Compact and the United Nations – 10 years after. Brussels: Bruylant.
  6. Schoeneborn, D., Wickert, C. & Haack, P. (2010). Fallstudie Multinationale Unternehmen: Der „Equator Principles“ Standard in der Finanzindustrie. In: Raupp, J., Jarolimek, S., & Schultz, F. (Eds). Handbuch Corporate Social Responsibility. Kommunikationswissensch. Grundlagen und methodische Zugänge. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag (in German).


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