The controversies surrounding the process of globalisation have raised concerns that multinational companies (MNCs) might be pursuing profit at the expense of vulnerable workforces, environmental degradation and so on. In response to such concerns, MNCs have increasingly taken steps aimed at demonstrating their social responsibility as business organisations. One prominent development has been the elaboration and adoption of a code of conduct concerning corporate social responsibility (CSR).
Corporate Social Responsibility - Definition
The concept of CSR has been assigned different ideas and definitions through time. By 1950, the first CSR definitions were focusing on managerial levels (Wood, 1991). The main argument was that business executives had obligations beyond the economic interests of a firm. Business executives had to consider how their decisions would affect a society’s values, stockholders, employees, suppliers and local communities. Nevertheless, in 1973, Elibert and Parket changed the focus by referring to CSR as good ‘neighborliness’, meaning that companies have to respect the rules of the ‘neighborhood’ and must contribute to solving local problems such as unemployment, pollution and urban decay. According to Carroll (1999), these authors suggested that firms have to collaborate by following the rules of society and help solving society’s problems voluntarily. An opposite perspective was proposed by Friedman who, in 1970, wrote that the only social responsibility that businesses have is to increase their own profits. Friedman affirmed that managers have a responsibility to their shareholders and not to society; thus managers should not use company’s resources for social means. “The stockholders or the customers or the employees could separately spend their own money on the particular action [social responsibility] if they wished” (Friedman, 1970, p. 225)....