Towards a More Business-Oriented Definition of Corporate Social Responsibility: Discussing the Core Controversies of a Well-Established Concept
Matthias S. Fifka
DOI: 10.4236/jssm.2009.24037   PDF    HTML     11,295 Downloads   20,532 Views   Citations


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.

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S. Fifka, M. (2009) 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, 2, 312-321. doi: 10.4236/jssm.2009.24037.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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