Csr Theories

Topics: Corporate social responsibility, Social responsibility, Business ethics Pages: 40 (13521 words) Published: May 4, 2011
Corporate Social Responsibility Theories: Mapping the Territory

Elisabet Garriga, ` ´ Domenec Mele

ABSTRACT. The Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) field presents not only a landscape of theories but also a proliferation of approaches, which are controversial, complex and unclear. This article tries to clarify the situation, ‘‘mapping the territory’’ by classifying the main CSR theories and related approaches in four groups: (1) instrumental theories, in which the corporation is seen as only an instrument for wealth creation, and its social activities are only a means to achieve economic results; (2) political theories, which concern themselves with the power of corporations in society and a responsible use of this power in the political arena; (3) integrative theories, in which the corporation is focused on the satisfaction of social demands; and (4) ethical theories, based on ethical responsibilities of corporations to society. In practice, each CSR theory presents four dimensions related to Elisabet Garriga is a PhD student in Management at IESE Business School, University of Navarra, Spain. She holds a degree in Philosophy and another in Economics from the University of Barcelona, Spain. She has taught Business Ethics at the University Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, for the International Education of Students (IES), a consortium comprised of more than 120 leading US colleges and universities. Her current research focuses on the concept and implementation of Corporate Social Responsibilities. She also has interest in organizational learning, entrepreneurship and innovation. ` ´ Domenec Mele is Professor and Director of the Department of Business Ethics at IESE Business School, University of Navarra, Spain and chairs the bi-annual ‘‘International Symposium on Ethics, Business and Society’’ held by IESE. He has a Doctorate in Industrial Engineering from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia, Spain (1974) and another in Theology from the University of Navarra (1983). He has been working in the business ethics field since 1986 and has been a member of EBEN from its beginnings. He is author of three books on economic and business ethics (in Spanish) and has edited eight books (in Spanish), which include different topics on business ethics. In addition, he has written 20 study cases (IESE Publishing) and 60 articles and chapters in this field.

profits, political performance, social demands and ethical values. The findings suggest the necessity to develop a new theory on the business and society relationship, which should integrate these four dimensions. KEY WORDS: corporate social responsibility, corporate responsiveness, corporate citizenship, stakeholder manage ment, corporate social performance, issues management, sustainable development, the common good

Introduction Since the second half of the 20th century a long debate on corporate social responsibility (CSR) has been taking place. In 1953, Bowen (1953) wrote the seminal book Social Responsibilities of the Businessman. Since then there has been a shift in terminology from the social responsibility of business to CSR. Additionally, this field has grown significantly and today contains a great proliferation of theories, approaches and terminologies. Society and business, social issues management, public policy and business, stakeholder management, corporate accountability are just some of the terms used to describe the phenomena related to corporate responsibility in society. Recently, renewed interest for corporate social responsibilities and new alternative concepts have been proposed, including corporate citizenship and corporate sustainability. Some scholars have compared these new concepts with the classic notion of CSR (see van Marrewijk, 2003 for corporate sustainability; and Matten et al., 2003 and Wood and Lodgson, 2002 for corporate citizenship). Furthermore, some theories combine different approaches and use the same terminology with different meanings. This...
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