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Edited by Anders Örtenblad
This chapter presents the research area and research questions and introduces the remaining chapters of the book. It is argued that while there are quite a few works on how corporate social responsibility (CSR) is practiced in various contexts, there is a need for more research on how CSR should be practiced by organizations in various generalized contexts, and, thus, that there is a need for a contingency model of CSR. A broad, general definition – based on Jeremy Moon’s work – in terms of seven aspects is introduced, and this definition is used as a common starting point for the book, in which the relevance of each aspect is examined for organizations in various generalized contexts. The chapter also presents the research questions for the book, which are to pay attention to and acknowledge the need for examining the relevance of CSR for organizations in different generalized contexts as an emerging research field, to explore the universality of CSR, to offer knowledge (as well as support for further knowledge-seeking) on how the general model of CSR needs to be adapted to become relevant to organizations within particular generalized contexts, and to begin the work on constructing a contingency model of the relevance of CSR for organizations in various generalized contexts.
Edited by Kleio Akrivou and Alejo José G Sison
Agustín González Enciso
This chapter tries to develop the idea that merchant’s ethics – or professional behaviour – depended on social paradigms and that changes in those paradigms depended heavily on the influence of royal or state power. In theory and in earlier (historic) social practice, the common good was always understood through an ethical prism, including care for others: benevolence (bene volere, to want the good for the other). In the feudal economy the concept of community appears as relatedness, a pre-legal definition. Subsequently there was a balanced tripartite structure (royal state; intellectuals/nobility; church/spiritual leadership), and being in community was defined as an interaction of these social institutions. At that time individuals simply had to accept the social role assigned to them in relation to their community and other groups. Under capitalism, on the other hand, the idea of community is defined chiefly by the state embodying the whole social structure, and the task of each individual can be reduced to seeking one’s own best interest, albeit obeying the king and being seen favourably by the royals. Further, since Adam Smith, the merchant’s ethic of private self-interest has been understood as being opposed to benevolence and outside the social context of relatedness, while it was about being self-sufficient. The difference, therefore, is great.