Debates, Models and Practices Across Government, Law and Business
Chapter 3: Classic and New Debates About Corporate Social Responsibility
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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