Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is concerned with the relationship between the corporate sector and society, and focuses on particularly good corporate citizenship. The World Business Council for Sustainable Development defines Corporate Social Responsibility 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 the local community and society at large. Increased visibility of corporate actions, customers’ perceptions of companies and their consequent purchasing behaviors are fundamentally changing. Due to the significant financial impact for businesses, CSR is no longer viewed as just a regulatory or discretionary cost, but an investment that brings financial returns. There are two main views in relation to CSR that explain how a corporation should act and what they should be accountable for.
The narrow view of corporate social responsibility places profit making at its forefront and the ability to deliver to its stakeholders. This view suggests profits first then the following other responsibilities should follow: to abide by societal expectations and ethical principles, to meet legal standards and to indulge in discretionary charitable actions (Carroll, 1979).
The broad view of CSR places emphasis first and foremost on the responsibility of business to support individual managers to make socially responsible decisions, followed by the imperatives of conforming to ethical behaviors and obeying the law, and lastly, making a profit. As Wood states, "It is of no importance at all whether a particular business remains competitive or not. Businesses that cannot remain competitive while fulfilling legal, ethical, and discretionary social responsibilities should not be in business at all."
The importance of a broad view approach to CSR will be argued in favor of and I will show how a sustainable future will result from
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