Towards a More Business-Oriented Definition of Corporate Social Responsibility: Discussing the Core Controversies of a Well-Established Concept

Matthias S. Fifka
2009 Journal of Service Science and Management  
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
more » ... erlying question if CSR is the business of business or if it is none of its business as Friedman has famously 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.
doi:10.4236/jssm.2009.24037 fatcat:vdn2lovi3fb3xp7zrm7l7njubq