Proceedings of the International Association for Business and Society

Volume 26, 2015

Proceedings of the Twenty-Sixth Annual Meeting

Isabel Sebastian
Pages 24-38

Business and Corporate Social Responsibility in a Gross National Happiness Economy
Insights from Bhutan

The current debate around better measures of progress and going ‘beyond-Gross Domestic Product (GDP)’ raises the question of implications for businesses and their sustainability efforts. Bhutan, with its Gross National Happiness (GNH) development approach provides an interesting case to investigate businesses in an economy focused on improving the conditions for wellbeing and happiness in society, alongside the goal of growing GDP. This study explores if and how GNH influences business conduct and sustainability efforts in Bhutan. It also investigates Bhutanese business and government leaders perceptions of the concept of GNH in relation to concepts such as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Corporate Sustainability (CS). Some preliminary findings include that the Bhutanese value-system forms the foundation of business leaders’ world-views and influences their business conduct and decision-making more than the recent formulation of the GNH framework. A comparison of the CSR, CS and GNH frameworks shows however that the GNH model has the potential to offer a sustainability framework that goes beyond-CSR.