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A Discussion on Archie Carroll’s View of Corporate Social Responsibility

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A Discussion on Archie Carroll’s View of Corporate Social Responsibility 1 By Rodolfo Arango

Archie Carroll’s hierarchical chart depicting the four components of his view on corporate social responsibility is sketched out as a pyramid for ease of use and understanding. The pyramids wide base, and the foundation of this theory, represents “economic responsibility” the basic building block for a positive corporation. This layer of the pyramid makes the distinction that it is the responsibility of an organization is to fulfill its financial obligation of producing revenue for its investors. The next layer up on the pyramid represents “legal responsibility” or the fact that a business is expected to obey the laws in its country of origin, because the laws in a society's classify what is acceptable behavior. The third layer up represents “ethical responsibility” which begins to turn our model into a less clearly defined structure. Definitions used today for this layer tend to be somewhat opaque due to new processes and technologies that are influencing the way society functions. At its most fundamental layer, this is the obligation to do what is just and fair, and to avoid harm to employees, consumers, the environment. The top layer, the “discretionary responsibility” layer represents the pinnacle of corporate social responsibility, the expectation that a business is supposed to be a good corporate citizen. This peak layer is where business is expected to contribute financial and human resources to the community and to improve the quality of life. This point of the pyramid, by design, should be the shining point of business acumen, but it also carries a similar opacity than that previous ethic layer but for different reasons to be discussed at the end of this essay. It is these last two top levels where today’s corporations are leveraging efforts to produce meaningful and directional guidance. In order for this effort to work the solutions and contributions by...