Corporate Social Responsibility and Social Responsiveness in a Global Business Environment A Comparative Theoretical Approach

Iamandi, Irina-Eugenia
Publication date: 
JEL codes: 
M14 - Corporate Culture; Social Responsibility.
The development of organizational theories in the last fifty years also emphasized an increased interest in corporate social responsibilities (CSR). The society’s expectations regarding the social obligations of a company are continuously changing, mainly influenced by different approaches in economic theory, socio-economic, political and cultural events affecting the business environment and a corresponding transformation of the social mentality that puts a pressure on the national or multinational companies. In response to these factors, business organizations around the world adapt their social responsiveness and the way they relate to different social responsibilities. The paper presents a theoretical approach of the way corporate responsibilities and business responses to social pressure evolved during the last decades, considering the factors above mentioned. The innovative aspect is represented by a relationship between the evolution of corporate social responsiveness, as it appears in the specialized literature of the last forty years, and the perceived business response to social issues, taking into account CSR history. First part of the paper reviews the definition, content and main approaches of CSR, relating them with the economic, and respectively, socio-economic model of business organizations. At this point are also analyzed the reasons that drive companies to involve in social initiatives and the corresponding CSR forms. Directly connected with the first part, the second one briefly presents the history of CSR and the 1990s’ shift in strategy from a deontological perspective to a more pragmatic one, effectively announcing the beginning of CSR as a profitable business practice. This aspect is emphasized, in a more specific way, in the third part of the paper, where advantages but also potential negative effects of a CSR policy are detailed. Based on three complementary studies – from late 1970s, early 1990s, and mid 2000s –the fourth part synthesizes the evaluation of corporate response to social issues in the period above mentioned. Finally, the last part focuses on present and future challenges regarding CSR: the association between corporate social responsibility and multinational companies, as well as the unintended results of corporate philanthropy. There are also indicated the aspects that should further be considered in order for CSR to become an effective business strategy.
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