Benn, Todd, and Pendleton (2010) choose to conceptualize Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in terms of the stakeholder theory. They argue that the purpose of CSR is to ensure that the business goes a step further than minding the needs of the shareholders alone. This view incorporates numerous other stakeholders like consumers, employees, suppliers, and the local community into the list of groups that the business ought to have in mind when considering how its activities impact the surrounding environment. Specifically, CSR includes initiatives like increasing diversity or conserving the environment (Jones 2011).
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Rangan, Chase, and Karim (2012) identify the CSR agenda as being the creation of shared value. Consequently, the adoption of CSR by organizations is mainly aimed at ensuring that value is created not only for the shareholders but also for the society in which the business is situated. In their view, the modern agenda of CSR attempts to unify both the long-standing critics and supporters of CSR. Since its inception and proliferation, CSR has faced a lot of criticism as being a mere Public relations strategy for businesses. The argument that these authors make is that the current agenda of CSR is to counter these criticisms by showing that CSR is indeed aimed at achieving actual value for the society.
Grayson and Nelson (2013) understand the wider CSR agenda as an expansion of the objectives of CSR. They argue that recently, there has been an increase in the topics and issues that business communities have to deal with when it comes to the organizational-societal interface. These include human rights, corporate governance, business ethics, and the return on investment of CSR. Ideally, the CSR agenda is also concerned about measuring the actual benefits that the adopted strategies bring to employee morale, brand awareness, and increasing competitive advantage.
Benn, S, Todd, LR & Pendleton, J 2010, ‘Public relations leadership in corporate social responsibility’, Journal of Business Ethics, vol. 96, no. 3, pp. 403-423.
Grayson, D & Nelson, J 2013, Corporate responsibility coalitions: Past, present, and future of alliances for sustainable capitalism, Greenleaf Publishing, Stanford.
Jones, P 2011, Strategy mapping for learning organizations: Building agility into your balanced scorecard, Gower Publishing, Farnham.
Rangan, K, Chase, LA & Karim, S 2012, ‘Why every company needs a CSR strategy and how to build it’, Working Paper, Harvard Business School.