CSR as a Management Idea
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CSR as a Management Idea

Ethics in Action

Edited by Mats Jutterström and Peter Norberg

CSR (corporate social responsibility) has become a widely diffused concept in the business world. This book explores CSR as a management idea, that is, as a tool for organizational reform. It shows that CSR has much in common with other popular management ideas such as lean production, total-quality-management, just-in-time, business-process-reengineering and six sigma, but there are also significant differences.
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Chapter 11: CSR as a management idea – discussing the contribution

Mats Jutterström and Peter Norberg


In this final chapter we shall briefly connect the main arguments of this book to two lines of literature; first, to literature about CSR, and second, to organizational literature dealing with popular management ideas or with relevant theories to understand such ideas. Throughout the book, a central message has been that CSR does not constitute its own theoretical area, but is an example of something more general. The contemporary concept of CSR represents a popular management idea, a widely diffused tool for organizational reform. Dealing with CSR as a popular management idea, we can gain more insight into CSR from what we know about management ideas and how they affect organizations. Accordingly, our main message to literature on CSR is about similarities between CSR and other popular management ideas in general. Generalizing the concept of CSR in this way is especially relevant for scholars interested in the operationalization of CSR – that is, in how an overarching idea may be turned into organizational change. Attempts to operationalize CSR, as well as other management ideas, include many kinds of activity. As demonstrated in the book, such activities take place both outside and inside the single organization. Outside organizations, CSR standards are formed, re-formed and diffused by many different stakeholders. Inside an organization, CSR, as well as other management ideas, may include structural change, decision processes, implementation, measurement, sanctions and the like. Control and sanctions are also exerted by stakeholders outside the organization. Turning the over- arching idea of CSR into operational change implies a considerable amount of organizing.

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