The first question that needs to be answered is ‘what do we mean by corporate social responsibility or CSR?’
Corporate social responsibility can be defined as “the behavior that society commonly expects of businesses in matters of public concern.” . One view of CSR suggests that the efforts of the firms should be intended exclusively for profit making for investors. And the other view of CSR is that the manager of the firm should decide what portion of the firm’s profit should be utilized for specific public issues such as improvement of the education system, medical research, etc. There are two competing theories of CSR, they are:
A) The agents of capital view: states that corporations have to take the responsibility to maximize profits while abiding by the rules of the society.
B) The social contract view: states that the society we live in has improved a lot and now should start to concentrate more on improving quality of life and begin addressing environmental concerns.
The concept of corporate social responsibility is a relatively new and modern one. CSR is a new concept apart from the occasional social beneficial services carries out by some business firms. Businesses are run by governments, labor unions and consumer groups. These powerful governing bodies consider CSR as a long-term investment in PR. In the context of Bangladesh, CSR is more applicable for the export-oriented industry. Due to globalization, CSR has become a necessary practice for businesses in Bangladesh. CSR looks out for the benefits of all stakeholders, not just for the stockholders. In order to adapt to the process of globalization the country is sensing the necessity for practicing CSR. But the total status of application of CSR in Bangladesh is very small. Some factors that challenge the progression of CSR practices include lack of Good Governance, lack of strong labor unions or consumer rights groups, and failure of the business community to identify CSR as a pre-condition for survival in export and PR investment local market . After learning the importance of CSR for the local business community from incidences of boycotting from the importer ,there is a gradual increase in the application of CSR in Bangladesh.
For the purpose of addressing the social problems or the problems of the stakeholders, the business community fashioned a new approach in their business strategies and named it CSR. And via CSR companies plan to strike a balance between economic and social goals, where the resources are consumed in a rational manner and social needs are addressed maturely. CSR can be seen as an all-inclusive set of policies, practices, and programs that are incorporated into business operations, supply chains, and decision making processes all the way through the business enterprise and include responsibilities for present and past actions in addition to sufficient attention to future impacts. The focus of CSR can vary from business to business, and can also vary by size, sector and also by geographic region.
A. HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE OF CSR
CSR is a notion in which firms incorporate communal and ecological issues in their business operations and in their interactions with their stakeholders voluntarily. It is claimed that corporations should act both responsibly and ethically. But this goal is complex and very hard to achieve. It seems that corporations now face a battle between their motive of profit making and the ideologies of CSR. If a table of the conflicting goals of profit making and adoption of CSR ideologies is drawn, it would look like this:
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