The Concept of CSR, Essay Example
The literature review examines qualitative research from various disciplines, such as business studies, international relations, anthropology, etc. The review objectively selected sources based upon relevance to the research objectives- regardless of the support or opposition to the thesis. The research indicates that the concept of CSR is relatively new and not fully defined yet; one of the greatest challenges of CSR involves prioritizing local, regional, national, and global responsibilities, deciding which of these responsibilities are just in nature, and finding the balance of CSR and responsible business management in general. Availability of specific information regarding corporate practices in the German Ruhr area and English Sheffield area posed two of the greatest limitations to the literature review. However, an examination of typical historical and modern cultural influences minimises the potential impact of this limitation.
Historically, CSR gained momentum when the interdependence of global corporations and political systems influenced the use of goods during World War II. Borgwardt (2010, p. 627) argues that the trials at Nuremberg and of similar human rights trials of the mid to late 1940’s collectively form a “universal jurisdiction” which acknowledges the culpability of individuals, political systems, and businesses in the German mass murders. The concept of CSR was later formalized by Bowen in 1953. Hofferberth et al. (2011, pp. 206-208) write that multinational enterprises occupy a unique role as “social actors” capable of creating significant shifts in global ideas of CSR, and the authors illustrate that isolated shifts in CSR have become more uncommon as corporate privatisation spreads. Recent academic articles proposed that reducing poverty is the worthiest priority of CSR, but Sharp (2006) expresses a concern that the consequences of the expectation of corporate responsibility may not be fully understood at this time (p. 214).
During the 1980’s, scholars began to reject the rationalists’ premise that corporations acted reliably- and exclusively- in response to profit margins; the study of the interaction of multiple forces acting upon businesses popularized support for a constructivist approach to understanding CSR (Hofferberth et al., 2011, pp. 209-211). Kreng and Huang (2011) argue that CSR should include both a provision for social services and a realistic expectation of fiscal responsibility and the maintenance of profit (pp. 530-535). Readiness to accept new strategies largely depends upon social influences which determine the area and extent of expected assistance; Hallett (2009, pp. 115-118) explains how globalized business strengthens the bond between universal jurisdiction, punishment, and order. For example, Batruch (2011) cites the long process of verification of environmental, social, and governance practices before Lundin Petroleum received full access to its new assets in Norway and the UK; the author writes that these investigations are becoming a routine aspect of modern CSR (p. 157). Ludescher and Mahsud (2010) claim that focusing on CSR without examining related factors limits the meaningfulness of results and prevents the research from identifying other factors which affect CSR (pp. 125-127).
Hofferberth et al. (2011) explain the recent interest in CSR: “international norms and their potential effects in terms of behaviour were an important and controversial issue discussed within [international relations]” (p. 210). Kreng and Huang (2011) infer that the broader adoption of CSR depends upon consumer behaviour, corporate strategy, and public policy (p. 531). Gulyás (2011) interprets CSR engagement and communication from 2000 to 2009 and concludes that the increase in media CSR likely springs from an appreciation of the positive public relations (p. 56). Media CSR engagement is generally positively correlated with popular social concerns of the corporate consumers, indicating that CSR extends to areas of widespread public support and making CSR an advertising and marketing ploy (p. 61). Similarly, the United Nations report on CSR cited “growing concerns over climate change and increased attention given to green growth, eco-innovation, bio-diversity and sustainability issues” as the primary motivators for the study (Altschuller et al., 2011). Abbassi et al. (2012) conclude that CSR regarding environmental concerns affects a positive view of a company, generating greater customer satisfaction and loyalty (pp. 466-467). In these views, the consumer wields more power than has traditionally been attributed to them, or, as Batruch explains: “Societal values have evolved and, with them, the requirements placed by stakeholders on the conduct of companies (2011, p. 158).The study of Tziner et al. (2011) found that CSR and job satisfaction are both mediated by policies and demonstrations of organizational justice (pp. 68-71). Smith and Helfgott (2010) present a case study of a universalized mining town in Peru to demonstrate that increasing flexibility to provide more options can monopolize the work schedules and auxiliary resources available to the labour force and to their families (pp. 22-23).
Hallett (2009, pp.115-116) points out that for centuries Anglo transportation companies have traditionally profited greatly from the costs of transporting indentured servants and slaves, creating a situation where the interests of human rights and justice were subjugated to the fulfilment of customer demand. Additionally, academic research continues to be published primarily by the United States and England and, consequently, represents the Anglo perspective (p. 114). In 2010, an international study revealed that approximately 89% of respondents in the United Kingdom (UK) agreed with the general concept of CSR, as compared to 73% of global respondents. By contrast, 21-23% of UK respondents believed that media, bank, and insurance companies, were not trusted to practice CSR, as compared to 51-54% of global respondents (Gulyás, 2011, p. 57). Accountability standards recently increased with the introduction of the 2006 Companies Act, which required English companies to regularly report on social and environmental factors (p. 61). It should be noted that the United Nations adapted its own Sustainability Policy for social and environmental risks just three years later (Altschuller et al., 2011). The headquarters of the global Business in the Community (BITC) index are located in the UK and record weighted measurements of corporate strategy, integration, management, performance impact, assurance, and disclosure in the largest companies only (Charitoudi et al., 2011, pp. 448-451).
However, Beyer and Höpner (2003, pp. 179-181) explain that the character of German corporate governance as largely unchanged until the 1980’s and also examine the rapid changes within the corporate systems which has occurred since then, primarily the expansion of women’s rights and the country’s move away from organised capitalism. Aranguren et al. (2008) conclude that modern Germany exhibits a high rate of environmental disclosure, including quantitative measures of environmental pollution (pp. 128-131).
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Beyer, J, & Höpner, M 2003, ‘The Disintegration of Organised Capitalism: German Corporate Governance in the 1990s’, West European Politics, 26, 4, pp. 179-198, Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 26 May 2012.
Borgwardt, E 2010, ‘Bernath Lecture: Commerce and Complicity: Corporate Responsibility for Human Rights Abuses as a Legacy of Nuremberg’, Diplomatic History, 34, 4, pp. 627-640, Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 4 Jan 2012.
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Gulyás, Á 2011, ‘Demons into Angels? Corporate Social Responsibility and Media Organisations’, Critical Survey, 23, 2, pp. 56-74, Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 27 May 2012.
Hallett, M 2009, ‘Imagining the global corporate gulag: lessons from history and criminological theory’, Contemporary Justice Review, 12, 2, pp. 113-127, Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 26 May 2012.
Hofferberth, M, Bruhl, T, Burkart, E, Fey, M, & Peltner, A 2011, ‘Multinational Enterprises as ‘Social Actors’-Constructivist Explanations for Corporate Social Responsibility’, Global Society: Journal Of Interdisciplinary International Relations, 25, 2, pp. 205-226, Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 28 May 2012.
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Sharp, J 2006, ‘Corporate social responsibility and development: An anthropological perspective’, Development Southern Africa, 23, 2, pp. 213-222, Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 4 Jan 2012.
Smith, J, & Helfgott, F 2010, ‘Flexibility or exploitation? Corporate social responsibility and the perils of universalization (Respond to this article at’, Anthropology Today, 26, 3, pp. 20-23, Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 7 Apr 2012.
Tziner, A, Bar, Y, Oren, L, & Kadosh, G 2011, ‘Corporate Social Responsibility, Organizational Justice and Job Satisfaction: How do They Interrelate, If at All?’, Revista De Psicologia Del Trabajo Y De Las Organizaciones, 27, 1, pp. 67-72, Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 2 Jan 2012.
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