Why has Corporate Social Responsibility become such a prominent part of the business world today?
It is widely believed that Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is one of the most important tasks in the twenty century. Some people may consider that companies have always been the profit organizations, and social affairs are in charge by the government, which is a common sense that there are no directly relationships between each other. However, CSR is considered one of the key elements to sustain companies to vary their original operation levels. In this essay, I attempt to outline the different definitions of Corporate Social Responsibility and evaluate the reasons why CSR became a prominent part of the business world by actual examples.
Recently literature has emerged that offers contradictory findings about Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). This has stimulated a great proportion of companies to change their internal operations. In fact, CSR has a variety of definitions, which based on various point of views from different fields. On the passage of time, the responsibilities of which the companies should be in charge have been correspondingly changed (Bryan, 2010: 26). World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) defines CSR as “the continuing commitment by business to behave ethically and contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families as well as of the local community and society at large." It means that the issues
regarding both of social and environment are included in Corporate Social Responsibility (Holme & Watts, 2000: 6).
Moreover, among the different definitions, the most widely adopted and influential definition is the EU Definition of CSR (2002) "A concept whereby companies integrate social and environmental concerns in their business operations and in their interaction with their stakeholders on a voluntary basis." It illustrates both internal and external stakeholders and how they interact with their social values.
Correspondingly, companies should take stakeholders into consideration when making decisions. In this way, they will develop knowledge, behaviour and attitude of CSR. (Maon et al., 2010: 21). The underlying principles could be divided into four parts, from the bottom upward, as economic responsibilities, legal responsibilities, ethical responsibilities, and discretionary responsibilities. Carroll argued that economic responsibility is the basic element of CSR development, and provides the goods and services, which meet the requirement of the society in 1979. Also, obtain the appropriate profit based on fair prices for the purpose of the stable growth and basic survival of the company, which is with the ability to return profit to shareholders. Basically, all the processes must comply with the law; however, the processes without regulations of law and follows the social expectation is called ethical responsibility, and
being without social expectation and regulation of law, company is willing to take corporate responsibly could be consider as discretionary responsibility (Carroll, 1991).
The above definitions, employees, consumers, stockholders, employees’ family or the people of surrounding communities consider as both internal and external stakeholders. In addition, the above definitions consider the business operations may result in a positive impact on the external environment and society. In other words, a company is no longer a closed organization, which should not only consider the matters of internal people and the society but also take into account the external and the society.
With the principle of CSR in European understandings, Aßla¨nder claims that there are two paradoxical aspects. One is from the view of a management perspective, and the other is from the view of a political perspective (2011: 118). Firstly, a management perspective is considered as a demand for ethical...
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