Advertisement

The Limitations of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR): A Philosophy at Odds with Its Surroundings

  • Ivan HilliardEmail author
Chapter
  • 123 Downloads

Abstract

Despite its growth in popularity in the past twenty years, CSR has serious limitations, which profoundly affect its ability to reduce the negative social, environmental, and economic impacts that companies generate as they pursue the financial bottom line. Emerging as a response to changing expectations of how organizations should behave in a complex and increasingly globalized world, its incoherency makes it inadequate to deal with the serious problems faced by humanity in the twenty-first century. This chapter summarizes the origins of CSR, as well as its limitations and fundamental underlying contradictions. It then explains why CSR needs to adopt a more coherent approach and outlines what that approach should look like.

Keywords

CSR origins Non-financial reporting Stakeholders Negative impacts Coherency 

References

  1. Banerjee, S. B. (2008). Corporate social responsibility: The good, the bad and the ugly. Critical Sociology, 34(1), 51–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bebbington, J., & Gray, R. (2001). An account of sustainability: Failure, success and a reconceptualization. Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 12(5), 557–588.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. BonJour, L. (1985). The structure of empirical knowledge. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Google Scholar
  4. Bowen, H. R. (1953). Social responsibilities of the businessman. New York, NY: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  5. Bukhārī, M. I. (1951). A manual of hadith. Lahore, Pakistan: Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat Islam. Google Scholar
  6. Burns, T. E., & Stalker, G. M. (1961). The management of innovation. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership Historical Research Reference in Entrepreneurship.Google Scholar
  7. Carroll, A. B. (1979). A three-dimensional conceptual model of corporate performance. Academy of Management Review, 4(4), 497–505.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Carroll, A. B. (1991). The pyramid of corporate social responsibility: Toward the moral management of organizational stakeholders. Business Horizons, 34(4), 39–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Carroll, A. B. (2008). A history of corporate social responsibility: Concepts and practices. In The Oxford Handbook of corporate social responsibility (pp. 19–46). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Collier, J., & Esteban, R. (2007). Corporate social responsibility and employee commitment. Business Ethics: A European Review, 16(1), 19–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Crane, A., Palazzo, G., Spence, L. J., & Matten, D. (2014). Contesting the value of “creating shared value”. California Management Review, 56(2), 130–153.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Dahlsrud, A. (2008). How corporate social responsibility is defined: An analysis of 37 definitions. Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, 15(1), 1–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Davis, K. (1960). Can business afford to ignore social responsibilities? California Management Review, 2(3), 70–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Davis, K. (1973). The case for and against business assumption of social responsibilities. Academy of Management Journal, 16(2), 312–322.Google Scholar
  15. De Bettignies, J. E., & Robinson, D. T. (2018). When is social responsibility socially desirable? Journal of Labor Economics, 36(4), 1023–1072.Google Scholar
  16. Duncan, R. B. (1972). Characteristics of organizational environments and perceived environmental uncertainty. Administrative Science Quarterly, 17(3), 313–327.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Eberstadt, N. (1977). What history tells us about corporate responsibilities. In Managing corporate social responsibility (pp. 17–22). Boston: Little, Brown. Google Scholar
  18. Emery, F. E., & Trist, E. (1965). The causal texture of organizational environments. Human Relations, 18(1), 12–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. EU Commission. (2001). GREEN PAPER: Promoting a European framework for corporate social responsibility. Office for Official Publications of the European Communities.Google Scholar
  20. Fieser, J., & Dowden, B. H. (n.d.). The internet encyclopedia of philosophy. Retrieved from https://www.iep.utm.edu/coherent/.
  21. Fiorino, D. J. (2010). Sustainability as a conceptual focus for public administration. Public Administration Review, 70(s1), s78–s88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Fonseca, A. (2010). How credible are mining corporations’ sustainability reports? A critical analysis of external assurance under the requirements of the International Council on Mining and Metals. Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, 17(6), 355–370.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Freeman, R. E. (1984). Strategic management: A stakeholder approach. Analysis, 38(1).Google Scholar
  24. Friedman, M. (1970). The social responsibility of business is to increase its profits. In Corporate ethics and corporate governance (pp. 173–178). Berlin: Springer. Google Scholar
  25. Garriga, E., & Melé, D. (2004). Corporate social responsibility theories: Mapping the territory. Journal of Business Ethics, 53(1–2), 51–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. GRI. (2011). Sustainability reporting guidelines, Version 3.1. Global Reporting Initiative.Google Scholar
  27. GRI & others. (2013). The external assurance of sustainability report.Google Scholar
  28. Halal, W. E. (2001). The collaborative enterprise: A stakeholder model uniting profitability and responsibility. Journal of Corporate Citizenship, 2, 27–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Hansson, S. O., & Olsson, E. J. (1999). Providing foundations for coherentism. Erkenntnis, 51(2–3), 243–265.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Hilliard, I., & Priede, T. (2018). Benchmarking responsible management and non-financial reporting. Benchmarking: An International Journal, 25(8), 2931–2949.Google Scholar
  31. Husted, B. W., & Allen, D. B. (2000). Is it ethical to use ethics as strategy? In Business challenging business ethics: New instruments for coping with diversity in international business (pp. 21–31). Dordrecht, Holland: Springer.Google Scholar
  32. Jensen, M. C. (2002). Value maximization, stakeholder theory, and the corporate objective function. Business Ethics Quarterly, 12(2), 235–256.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Joachim, H. H. (1906). The nature of truth: An essay. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  34. Kaptein, M., & Wempe, J. F. D. B. (2002). The balanced company: A theory of corporate integrity. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Khalidi, T. (2009). The Qur’an: (Penguin classics deluxe edition). Penguin.Google Scholar
  36. KPMG International. (2017). The KPMG survey of corporate responsibility reporting 2017. Retrieved from www.kpmg.com/crreporting.
  37. Leinwand, P., & Mainardi, C. (2010). The coherence premium. Harvard Business Review, 88(6), 86–92.Google Scholar
  38. Levy, D. L., Brown, H. S., & De Jong, M. (2010). The contested politics of corporate governance the case of the global reporting initiative. Business & Society, 49(1), 88–115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Lewis, C. I. (1946). An analysis of knowledge and valuation. LaSalle, IL: Open Court Publishing Company.Google Scholar
  40. Loh, J. (2002). Living planet report 2002. World Wide Fund for Nature International (WWF), UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre, Redefining Progress. Center for Sustainability Studies, Gland, Switzerland.Google Scholar
  41. Milne, M. J., Ball, A., & Gray, R. (2008). Wither ecology? The triple bottom line, the Global Reporting Initiative, and the institutionalization of corporate sustainability reporting. American Accounting Association Annual Meeting, Anaheim.Google Scholar
  42. Mitchell, R. K., Agle, B. R., & Wood, D. J. (1997). Toward a theory of stakeholder identification and salience: Defining the principle of who and what really counts. Academy of Management Review, 22(4), 853–886.Google Scholar
  43. Moorhead, J., & Nixon, T. (2016). Global 500 greenhouse gas performance: 2010–2015. Thomson Reuters, June.Google Scholar
  44. Moser, P. K. (1985). Whither infinite regresses of justification? The Southern Journal of Philosophy, 23(1), 65–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Muniapan, B., & Dass, M. (2008). Corporate social responsibility: A philosophical approach from an ancient Indian perspective. International Journal of Indian Culture and Business Management, 1(4), 408–420.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Orlitzky, M., Schmidt, F. L., & Rynes, S. L. (2003). Corporate social and financial performance: A meta-analysis. Organization Studies, 24(3), 403–441.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Pennings, F. (2017). Assurance of corporate social responsibility (CSR) reports and capital market benefits in a European setting. Radboud University. Google Scholar
  48. Post, J., & Preston, L. (2012). Private management and public policy: The principle of public responsibility. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Google Scholar
  49. Quine, W. V. (1993). In praise of observation sentences. The Journal of Philosophy, 90(3), 107–116.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Rees, W. E. (2002). Globalization and sustainability: Conflict or convergence? Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society, 22(4), 249–268.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Rifkin, J. (2014). The zero marginal cost society: The internet of things, the collaborative commons, and the eclipse of capitalism (p. 356). New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press. Google Scholar
  52. Rivas, L. G. (1999). Business ethics and the history of economics in Spain “The school of Salamanca: A bibliography”. Journal of Business Ethics, 22(3), 191–202.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Sheehy, B. (2019). TNC code of conduct or CSR? A regulatory systems perspective. In Code of conduct on transnational corporations (pp. 45–62). Cham, Switzerland: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Shogenji, T. (1999). Is coherence truth conducive? Analysis, 59(264), 338–345.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Smith, A. (1776). The wealth of nations.Google Scholar
  56. Stakeholdermap.com. (2016). What is a stakeholder?—Definitions of a stakeholder. Retrieved April 11, 2018, from http://www.stakeholdermap.com/what-is-a-stakeholder.html.
  57. Stein, H. (1995). On the other hand-essays on economics, economists, and politics. Washington, DC: American Enterprise Institute.Google Scholar
  58. UNPCC. (2018). Global warming of 1.5 °C. Retrieved January 23, 2019, from https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/.
  59. Visser, W. (2011). The age of responsibility: CSR 2.0 and the new DNA of business. Chichester, UK: Wiley.Google Scholar
  60. Wackernagel, M., Linares, A. C., Deumling, D., Schulz, N. B., Sanchez, M. A. V., & Falfan, I. S. L. (2000). Living Planet Report 2000. WWF Worldwide Network. Retrieved from www.Panda.Org/LivingPlanet.
  61. Waddock, S. A., & Graves, S. B. (1997). The corporate social performance–financial performance link. Strategic Management Journal, 18(4), 303–319.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Wartick, S. L., & Cochran, P. L. (1985). The evolution of the corporate social performance model. Academy of Management Review, 10(4), 758–769.Google Scholar
  63. Wood, D. J. (1991). Corporate social performance revisited. Academy of Management Review, 16(4), 691–718.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Social SciencesUniversidad Europea de MadridMadridSpain

Personalised recommendations