Edited by Benton E. Gup
Chapter 6: Corporate Social Responsibility: Renegotiating Corporate Citizenship
Barbara Parker Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is not a new concept, but as this chapter shows, reasons for corporations to pursue social responsibility initiatives as well as the extent and range of CSR practices are new to many if not most organizations. In the US almost all business leaders traditionally viewed their social responsibilities as those generally put forward by economist Milton Friedman: the social responsibility of business is to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its proﬁts so long as it stays within the rules of the game. Countless business leaders still share Friedman’s view of corporate social responsibility, believing that successful businesses produce social goods in the form of jobs, tax revenues, desired goods and services and proﬁts. The point is that social responsibility of the passive, jobs- and proﬁt-generating sort is nothing new. Nor is there anything particularly new about corporate philanthropic giving which in the US was exempliﬁed by early business leaders such as Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, and J.P. Morgan. Using personal wealth and corporate foundations, these and other business leaders helped establish libraries, universities, art galleries, and health care, and they pursued other initiatives whose beneﬁts continue to pay social dividends. Corporate foundations in the US now number somewhere around 2600 and this is without counting more than 36 000 independent foundations that families or donors establish; the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is an example of the latter. Thus, it is not new...
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