CSR as a Management Idea

CSR as a Management Idea

Ethics in Action

Edited by Mats Jutterström and Peter Norberg

CSR (corporate social responsibility) has become a widely diffused concept in the business world. This book explores CSR as a management idea, that is, as a tool for organizational reform. It shows that CSR has much in common with other popular management ideas such as lean production, total-quality-management, just-in-time, business-process-reengineering and six sigma, but there are also significant differences.

Chapter 10: Results on similarities and differences

Mats Jutterström and Peter Norberg

Subjects: business and management, asia business, business ethics and trust


In Chapter 2 we demonstrated that CSR in many generic ways is similar to other widely diffused concepts for organizational reform. Based on these similarities we have argued that CSR represents a popular management idea – a perspective contributing to the overall understanding of the concept and how it affects organizations. However, we wanted to further explore similarities and differences between CSR and other popular management ideas in general, based on empirical studies. From an analysis of differences we could discuss the limits of applying theories of management ideas and their operationalization to the concept of CSR. All in all, both similarities and differences between CSR and other popular management ideas are significant subjects for scholars interested in operational aspects of business ethics. The questions of similarities and differences led us to the empirical chapters of the book, dealing with attempts to operationalize CSR within and outside business firms. In the empirical chapters, we addressed different aspects of CSR in a specific order. The result, in somewhat simplified terms, can be likened to going from farm to fork with respect to CSR – from rule-setting and diffusion in the business environment, to management decisions, implementation and day-to-day application in business firms. In this chapter, we now come back to the results of the empirical chapters and connect them to the main question of the book – on similarities and differences between CSR and other popular management ideas. The empirical chapters of the book have yielded a number of findings about CSR as a management idea.

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