Handbook of Research Methods in Corporate Social Responsibility
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Handbook of Research Methods in Corporate Social Responsibility

Edited by David Crowther and Linne Lauesen

Corporate social responsibility now touches upon most aspects of the interaction between business and society. The approaches taken to research in this area are as varied as the topics that are researched; yet this is the first book to address the whole range of methods available. The book identifies the methods available, evaluates their use and discusses the circumstances in which they might be appropriate. It also includes forward-thinking guidance from experienced academics on the future directions of research in the area.
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Chapter 25: Philosophical prolegomena to all future research in CSR

Nicholas Capaldi


In order to conduct research on corporate social responsibility (CSR) one must first define CSR. At present there are admittedly chaotic and conflicting analyses provided by rival theorists. What we seek is a clear definition unencumbered by private agendas. In order to accomplish this we need the following: 1. an understanding of ‘social’ institutions 2. a definition of a corporation as a ‘social’ entity, specifically as a ‘commercial’ entity 3. an account of how corporations relate to other social institutions (including political and legal ones) 4. some understanding of what it means to evaluate the performance of social institutions in general and commercial ones in particular 5. the disambiguation of legal responsibility from ‘social’ responsibility.

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