The Business Case for Csr

3504 Words Dec 16th, 2011 15 Pages
The concept of Corporate Social Responsibility is a relatively new in the management field and there is no single definition of it since everyone’s interpretation of the term is different. “Corporate Social Responsibility means something, but not always the same thing to everybody.” (Votaw, 1972, p.25) and from my understanding of the concept, CSR to me is “The voluntary business activities within the boundary of law that contributes to the wider community for a more sustainable environment”. Since everyone has a unique interpretation of CSR, the range of relevant CSR practices across businesses has been quite diverse as there is no such thing as features of CSR (Marcel van Marrewijk, 2003). Rising environmental and social concerns in …show more content…
Drawing from these debates, Archie Carroll has developed “the Pyramid of Corporate Social Responsibility”, one of the most significant concepts of CSR. There are four kinds of social responsibilities that contribute total CSR, he suggested, Economic, Legal, Ethical, and Philanthropic (1991). Therefore being socially responsible does not mean forgetting the fundamental aspect of business, to make profit. The obligation of Law restricts business activities and they are the rules of the game which businesses have to obey. Being ethical is to perform actions that are fair, morally good, and of stakeholders’ interests, even outside the boundary of law. Considering corporate citizenship, philanthropic responsibilities are responses to the rising society’s expectations to business (Carroll, 1991). The notion of discretionary and voluntary distinguishes philanthropic responsibilities to ethical responsibilities. A good CSR firm should “strive to make a profit, obey the law, be ethical, and be a good corporate citizen” (Carroll, 1991, p.43) and without simultaneous fulfillment of the four responsibilities, the business should not be characterized as operating within CSR.

James Fieser disagreed with Carroll, he argued that law clearly set out what people or businesses are allowed to do and what they are not. Therefore businesses have no obligation to perform ethically beyond what the law requires. “By its nature, business is supposed to be unscrupulous
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