Why Has Corporate Social Responsibility Become Such a Prominent Part of the Business World Today?

Topics: Business ethics, Corporate social responsibility, Ethics Pages: 7 (1964 words) Published: December 8, 2012
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

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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...

References: Aßla¨nder, M. S. (2011) Corporate Social Responsibility as Subsidiary Co-Responsibility:A Macroeconomic Perspective Journal of Business Ethics 99, pgs 115-128.
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Bryan, H. (2010) Corporate Social Responsibility in the 21st Century: Debates, Models and Practices Across Government, Law and Business, Cheltenham. Edward Elgar Publishing Limited. Carroll, A. B. (1979) A three-dimensional conceptual model of corporate performance. Academy of Management Review, 4/4, pgs 497-505. Carroll, A. B. (1991) The pyramid of corporate social responsibility: Toward themoral management of organizational stakeholders Business Horizons, 34/4, pgs 39-48. Carroll, A. B. and Shabana, K. M. (2010) 'The Business Case for Corporate Social Responsibility: A Review of Concepts, Research and Practice ' International Journal of Management Reviews, pgs 85-150.
Commission of the European Communities (2002) Communication from the Commission concerning Corporate Social Responsibility: A Business Contribution To Sustainable Development, COM (2002) Brussels, 2nd July.
Holme, R., & Watts, P. (2000) Corporate Social Responsibility; Making Good World Business Council for Sustainable Development. Geneva. Horrigan, B. (2005) 'Comparative Corporate Governnance Developments- Key Ongoing Challenges from Anglo-American Perspectives ', in S. Tully (ed.), Research Handbook on Corporate Legal Reponsibility, Cheltenham, pgs 20-53. Kiran, R., & Sharma, A. (2011) CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY: A CORPORATE STRATEGY FOR NEW BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES Journal of International Business Ethics, 4/1, pgs 10-17. Maon, F., Lindgreen, A., & Swaen, V. (2011) Organizational stages and cultural phases: A critical review and a consolidative model of corporate social responsibility development. International Journal of Management Reviews, 12/1, pgs 20-38.
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World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) (2002) The Business Case for Sustainable Development: Making a Difference Towards the Johannesburg Summit 2002 and Beyond. World Business Council for Sustainable Development. Geneva, Switzerland.
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