Corporate Social Responsibility in the 21st Century

Corporate Social Responsibility in the 21st Century

Debates, Models and Practices Across Government, Law and Business

Bryan Horrigan

Professor Bryan Horrigan spans subjects as diverse and topical as global corporate responsibility and governance debates, practical guidelines for responsible businesses and their professional advisers, governmental roles in corporate social responsibility, corporations and human rights, and the new era of ‘enlightened shareholder value’. He also highlights an emerging transnational and comparative body of law, regulation, and practice on corporate social responsibility. Illustrated throughout with meaningful controversies and examples, the book also highlights the major recent global developments in corporate social responsibility already this century, focusing especially on Europe, the UK, North America, and Australasia, and charting its future regulatory and research directions worldwide.

Chapter 3: Classic and New Debates About Corporate Social Responsibility

Bryan Horrigan

Subjects: business and management, management and sustainability, environment, environmental management, law - academic, corporate law and governance, human rights, politics and public policy, human rights


THE NEXUS BETWEEN CORPORATE THEORIZING AND CORPORATE REGULATORY PRACTICE The steadily evolving debate over CSR can no longer be dismissed as faddishness [and] is developing simultaneously with a radical rethinking of corporate theory. The progressive strategic integration of social and environmental concerns into the business operations and interactions with firms’ stakeholder networks has been contributing to promoting a new model of economic success . . . in which CSR is integrated across all the corporate functions. – European CSR scholars Francesco Perrini, Stefano Pogutz and Antonio Tencati1 Theorizing properly about CSR is serious business for a wide range of CSR actors. A coherent approach to policy-making, regulation and business practice concerning CSR presupposes an underlying conceptual framework for corporate responsibility, governance and sustainability. Such a framework requires attention to the status and legitimacy of corporations, and their relationship to all parts of society, from a range of legal, economic and other standpoints. Conceivably, it might take a distinct and cross-disciplinary body of theory about the place of corporations in global civil society to address more fully the deep questions of good corporate responsibility, governance and regulation at stake.2 Indeed, given the importance for corporations of interactions between political systems (i.e. government), economic systems (i.e. markets), legal systems (i.e. administration of justice), regulatory systems (i.e. state and non-state regulation), and social systems (i.e. social ethics and cultures), the ultimate answers might well lie in the crossdisciplinary intersections between power theory, efficiency theory, justice theory and moral theory, from both national and international perspectives.3 Legislators, law...

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