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Towards a More Business-Oriented Definition of Corporate Social Responsibility: Discussing the Core Controversies of a Well-Established Concept

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DOI: 10.4236/jssm.2009.24037    7,700 Downloads   15,305 Views   Citations

ABSTRACT

The concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has been controversially discussed for over 50 years. Consequently, a wide variety of definitions and understandings of CSR have been developed throughout the decades. That has made it increasingly hard, or not to say impossible, to agree on a common perception of CSR. Concerning the various notions of CSR, four core controversies can be identified which revolve around certain elements of CSR: First of all, there is the underlying question if CSR is the business of business or if it is none of its business as Friedman has fa-mously argued. Second, should CSR contain legal obligations or is it a purely voluntary concept and, thus, ethical in nature? Strongly connected to that is the third controversy on whether CSR should be self-serving or if it has to be purely altruistic. Finally, there is widespread disagreement on the scope of CSR. Does it have a local, community-oriented focus or should it address concerns of a wider geographical scope? These controversies are analyzed and discussed here with the aim of developing a definition of CSR that does not remain confined to the academic world.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

M. S. Fifka, "Towards a More Business-Oriented Definition of Corporate Social Responsibility: Discussing the Core Controversies of a Well-Established Concept," Journal of Service Science and Management, Vol. 2 No. 4, 2009, pp. 312-321. doi: 10.4236/jssm.2009.24037.

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