Complications Of Corporate Social Responsibility

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The public’s increasing concern for social issues, such as sustainability, has resulted in the adoption of corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategies by companies worldwide. CSR has become an integral part of today’s business environment. Despite the growing trend towards the implementation of CSR, the United States seems to be lagging behind other countries, such as the United Kingdom and those in the European Union, in the depth and impact of their CSR commitments and actions. This gap may be attributed to the different political, social, and economic cultures present in the institutional frameworks of other nations.
The idea of social responsibility can be traced back to the late 19th century, when philanthropists, such as Andrew
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He defined social responsibility as “the obligations of businessmen to pursue those policies, to make those decision, or to follow those lines of action which are desirable in terms of the objectives and values of our society” (Bowen p.6). Bowen’s seminal book marked the beginning of the discourse on business social responsibility, earning him the nickname “Father of Corporate Social Responsibility” (Carroll 1999, p.291), through questions such as: (1) “What responsibilities to society may businessmen reasonably be expected to assume?” ;(2) “What steps might be taken, practically, to give greater effect to the broader social aspects of business decisions?” and;(3) “What are other basic ethical issues facing American businessmen today?” (Bowen p.xvii) These questions laid the foundation for what eventually became known as corporate social …show more content…
Despite the growing literature, CSR’s complex nature has resulted in a lack of a single definition; however, “at the core of CSR is the idea that it reflects the social imperatives and the social consequences of business success” (Matten p.405). Carroll states that CSR firms should, “strive to make a profit, obey the law, be ethical, and be a good corporate citizen” (Carroll 1991, p.43). For firms to be able to address and support societal needs they must have the monetary resources to put forth action plans; in another view, a profitable business aids society by contributing to the economy. Firms obeying the law ensures that they are abiding by the laws established to help protect the greater good, therefore, helping to keep societal order. On the other hand, an ethical corporation, abides by moral/ethical laws which makes certain that all business decisions are consistent with societal norms and are not likely to harm the community at large. Lastly, good corporate citizenship in this context relates to corporations going beyond what laws and regulations require; good corporate citizenship enhances society’s quality of life through means such as

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