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Stages of corporate social responsibility

Petter Gottschalk

The concept of discrete stages or levels can be applied to corporate social responsibility. In a four-stage model, organizations at the bottom level maximize profits for shareholders without any other obligations. The only responsibility corporations have is that of maximizing profits to shareholders while engaging in open and free competition, without deception or fraud. Organizations at the top level activate corporate actions to contribute as active citizens in society. Corporate executives look for opportunities in society where the company can make a difference.
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The social context in CSR research: a contextualist approach with critical applications

Andromachi Athanasopoulou and John W. Selsky

This chapter emphasizes the importance of taking into account a broad view of the social context when designing and implementing CSR studies and when using the findings from such studies to inform practice. We argue for multi-level, multi-perspective approaches to CSR studies and propose that the research approach of contextualism may be a useful framework for context-sensitive CSR research going forward. We argue that contextualism may help researchers to understand the broader dynamics that affect CSR practice, enabling them to design more critical and more political CSR research studies. We conclude by suggesting how the outcomes of critical-contextualist research may help managers become more effective in their CSR practice, and discuss the obligations of CSR scholars in this regard.
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Research Handbook on Corporate Social Responsibility in Context

Edited by Anders Örtenblad

Is corporate social responsibility (CSR) a universal idea? Is the same exact definition of CSR relevant for any organization, regardless of context? Or would such a definition need to be adapted to fit different types of organizations, in different cultures, industries and sectors? This book discusses how CSR preferably should be practiced in various generalized contexts. Experts share their knowledge on whether a broad definition of CSR can be practiced as is or if it first has to undergo changes, in as various generalized contexts as Buddhist and Islamic organizations, developing countries, the food processing industry, the shipping industry, and the pharmaceutical industry.
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The relevance of CSR in the case of an insurance firm and a motorcycle gang in Norway

Petter Gottschalk

The insurance company takes on business responsibility to society by controlling the ownership of a clubhouse where a number of organized criminals are living as members of the motorcycle gang. The insurance company applies a business perspective, where it keeps the pledge in the clubhouse as long as individuals have debts with the firm. However, the insurance company is not willing to involve itself in law enforcement.
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Reflections on the universality and philosophical foundations of the ‘corporate social responsibility’ definition

Jared M. Hansen

This research examines the universality of the corporate social responsibility (CSR) definition labeled the ‘seven aspects model’. Definitions are an important part of research, and all research has philosophical foundations. This research outlines potential choices in philosophical underpinnings for CSR research and constructing the definition of CSR. It finds that scientific realism is capable of serving as a philosophical foundation for research adopting the seven aspects model. In contrast, relativism is shown not to be capable of serving as a philosophical foundation for the same scientific research. The research then reviews and comments upon the seven aspects definition of CSR through the following definitional characteristics: inclusivity, exclusivity, differentiability, clarity, communicability, consistency and parsimony. Last, the research discusses how context-based CSR research – for example, culture, religion, nations, industries and sectors, interactions between them, and specific situations – can be used to further evaluate and improve the definition.
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Preface

Edited by Anders Örtenblad

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Islamic and Buddhist perspectives of corporate social responsibility

Patsy Perry and Aini Ahmad

The roots of CSR can be found in major religions and belief systems, since many of the lessons contained in their moral teachings are consistent with the principles of CSR. This chapter considers how Moon’s definition of CSR may be viewed from Islamic and Buddhist perspectives and how these may inform CSR in the business operations of Islamic and Buddhist organizations. Islam and Buddhism share similar views on the relationship between business and society: that adherents should not be allured by material wealth and that profit maximization should not be followed to the detriment of humanity or the environment. However, the motivation for ethical conduct in both Islam and Buddhism is largely for personal benefit in the eyes of the Supreme Being or in the hereafter, rather than for the benefit of future generations. Although there may be a rhetorical expectation that Buddhist and Islamic organizations should be practicing CSR, the reality of whether they always do so or not may be different.
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Introduction: establishing the art of contextualizing CSR as a research area

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.
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The importance of context in understanding CSR

D. Kirk Davidson

Although there have been years of exploration of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in the developed nations of the West – Western Europe and North America – too little attention has been given to the subject as it applies to eastern countries and developing economies throughout the world. This chapter offers the eight essential elements of a contextual framework which allow us to understand and analyze the status of CSR in any country.
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The future of CSR: towards transformative CSR, or CSR 2.0

Wayne Visser

This chapter argues that CSR, as a business, governance and ethics system, has failed. This assumes that success or failure is measured in terms of the net impact (positive or negative) of business on society and the environment. The chapter contends that a different kind of CSR is needed if we are to reverse the current direction of many of the world’s most pressing social, environmental and ethical trends. The chapter reviews business’s historical progress over the stages of CSR: moving through defensive, charitable, promotional and strategic CSR approaches respectively. The chapter examines the three curses of modern CSR (incremental, peripheral and uneconomic), before exploring what CSR might look like in an emerging age of responsibility. This new CSR – called transformative CSR or CSR 2.0 – is based on five principles (creativity, scalability, responsiveness, glocality and circularity) and forms the basis for a new DNA model of responsible business, built around the four elements of value creation, good governance, societal contribution and environmental integrity.