Corporate Social Responsibility and Business Performance

Corporate Social Responsibility and Business Performance

Theories and Evidence about Organizational Responsibility

Tobias Gössling

Does it pay for businesses to act morally? This book attempts to answer this question. Taking a positive approach, it demonstrates that, under certain conditions, organizations can act responsibly and profitably at the same time. It elaborates on these conditions and provides evidence for the assumed positive relation between responsibility and profitability.

Chapter 1: Introduction

Tobias Gössling

Subjects: business and management, corporate social responsibility, management and sustainability, organisation studies, environment, environmental management

Extract

It might be central to corporate social responsibility (CSR) to deal with the question that refers to the business case in business ethics (BE): ‘Is it worth it?’ This question is tricky. First, it is not at all clear what is meant by ‘it’. We know very well what CSR and BE are. CSR is responsibility in management of organizations, taking social issues, environmental issues and the economic development of region and society into account. This responsibility is certainly not voluntary, as some definitions suggest, given the fact that there are societal institutional pressures that demand such responsibility. BE is moral philosophy, applied to business. Different as the definitions are, the problems and questions that are discussed in the one field are relevant to the other; the person in an organization that is responsible for CSR is also responsible for BE. BE researchers are more likely to be found in humanistic facilities, whereas CSR researchers are more likely to be based in social sciences facilities– or in economics and business schools. But no matter how the ‘it’ is defined, there are many different things that belong to the possible methods and initiatives that are undertaken by organizations. In the meantime, business organizations, scientists, non-governmental organizations, international organizations and professional service firms like consultancies and rating agencies have developed means and mechanisms, protocols and tools, standard procedures and functions, interorganizational networks and professional organizations, for those who are responsible for responsibility within organizations, and by doing so, contribute significantly to...