Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 135, Issue 2, pp 233–252 | Cite as

Individual Competencies for Corporate Social Responsibility: A Literature and Practice Perspective

  • E. R. Osagie
  • R. Wesselink
  • V. Blok
  • T. Lans
  • M. Mulder


Because corporate social responsibility (CSR) can be beneficial to both companies and its stakeholders, interest in factors that support CSR performance has grown in recent years. A thorough integration of CSR in core business processes is particularly important for achieving effective long-term CSR practices. Here, we explored the individual CSR-related competencies that support CSR implementation in a corporate context. First, a systematic literature review was performed in which relevant scientific articles were identified and analyzed. Next, 28 CSR directors and managers were interviewed. The literature review complemented with interview data resulted in the following eight distinct CSR-related competencies: (1) Anticipating CSR challenges; (2) Understanding CSR-relevant systems and subsystems; (3) Understanding CSR-relevant standards; (4) CSR management competencies, including (4a) Leading CSR programs, (4b) Managing CSR programs, and (4c) Identifying and realizing CSR-related business opportunities; (5) Realizing CSR-supportive interpersonal processes; (6) Employing CSR-supportive personal characteristics and attitudes; (7) Personal value-driven competencies, including (7a) Ethical normative competencies, (7b) Balancing personal ethical values and business objectives, and (7c) Realizing self-regulated CSR-related behaviors and active involvement; and (8) Reflecting on personal CSR views and experiences. Based on these results, implications for further research on this topic, as well as implications for practitioners, are discussed.


Competencies Corporate social responsibility CSR manager Interview Sustainable development Systematic literature review 


Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

A business approach to sustainable development in which an organization voluntarily decides to achieve business success in a way that reflects the interest of all stakeholders (e.g., the investors, employees, environment, and community)

Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)

A process of learning how to make decisions regarding the long-term future of the economy, ecology, and equity of all communities

Sustainable Development (SD)

Sustainability is often defined as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. Nowadays, this concept is characterized by three concepts that emphasize the need for striking a balance between social, natural, and financial resources (also represented as the “3Ps” components” People, Planet, and Profit/Prosperity). Sustainability can be perceived as a dynamic goal that must be continuously reassessed. The road or process toward sustainability is called “sustainable development”


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. R. Osagie
    • 1
  • R. Wesselink
    • 1
  • V. Blok
    • 2
  • T. Lans
    • 1
  • M. Mulder
    • 1
  1. 1.Chair Group Education and Competence Studies, Social Sciences Group, Wageningen School of Social SciencesWageningen UniversityWageningenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Management Studies Group, Social Sciences Group, Wageningen School of Social SciencesWageningen UniversityWageningenThe Netherlands

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