The evolution of corporate social responsibility

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CORPORATE Social Responsibility also called corporate conscience, corporate citizenship or responsible business is considered a form of corporate self-regulation integrated into a business model.

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According to studies, CSR functions as mechanism where a business ensures its active response with what the law demands, follows ethical standards and national or international norms.

But some models go beyond the implementation of CSR. It also engages in “actions that appear to further some social good, beyond the interests of the companies and that which is required by law.”

CSR programs encourage the company to make a positive impact on the environment and stakeholders including consumers, employees, investors, and communities, among others.

Meanwhile, political sociologists became interested in CSR in the context of theories of globalization, neoliberalism and late capitalism. Some sociologists look at CSR as a form of capitalist legitimacy and in particular point out that what began as a social movement against corporate power was changed by corporations into a “business model” and a “risk management” device.

CSR has attracted attention since the 1960s from businesses and stakeholders in regard to its benefits and what it is. It was defined differently by various writers based on what they understand about the concept but now CSR is being referred to as “the ethical principle that an organization should be responsible for how its behavior might affect society and the environment.”

From 1960, CSR has remained a term used indiscriminately by many to cover legal and moral responsibility.

Carroll in 1991 extended CSR from the traditional economic and legal responsibility to ethical and philanthropic responsibility. Its new meaning demonstrates that corporate social responsibility is made up of four responsibilities that are interrelated and argues that CSR cannot be achieved without meeting the economic, legal, ethical and philanthropic responsibilities.

Business Dictionary defines CSR as “A company’s sense of responsibility towards the community and environment (both ecological and social) in which it operates. Companies express this citizenship through their waste and pollution reduction processes, by contributing educational and social programs and by earning adequate returns on the employed resources.”

Most consumers agree that while achieving business targets, companies should do CSR at the same time. The impact is companies doing charity work receive a positive response from consumers.

Somerville also found that consumers are loyal and willing to spend more on retailers that support charity. Consumers also believe that retailers selling local products will gain loyalty.

Smith in 2013 shares the belief that marketing local products will gain consumer trust. However, environmental efforts are receiving negative views given the belief that this would affect customer service.

Oppewal et al. in 2006 found that not all CSR activities are attractive to consumers. They recommended that retailers focus on one activity.

Becker-Olsen on the same year found that if the social initiative done by the company is not aligned with other company goals it will have a negative impact.

Mohr et al. in 2001 and Groza et al. in 2011 also emphasized the importance of reaching the consumer.

In the 21st century, CSR has attracted attention from businesses and stakeholders.

Wieland and Handfield in 2013 suggested that companies need to include social responsibility in their reviews of component quality.

Now, Corporate Social Responsibility may be based within the human resources, business development or public relations departments of organization or may be a separate unit reporting to the CEO or the board of directors.

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