Synopses & Reviews
Corporate Social Responsibility: Definition, Core Issues and Recent Developments offers a well-structured and thorough introduction to corporate social responsibility (CSR). Author Brent D. Beal introduces the basic concept of CSR, briefly discusses the challenges of defining it, and summarizes important conceptual models. CSR is examined in the context of the perfect competition market model, market failure, and social dilemmas. Three different types of CSR—systemic, strategic, and philanthropic—are highlighted. Finally, arguments both for and against CSR are outlined and several conceptual frames are proposed. Readers are encouraged to think about what businesses should be responsible for in society and how a society’s economic system should be structured, bounded, and ultimately, controlled. This text is appropriate for any business course in which the introduction of CSR would complement other course content.
Defining CSR is not merely a descriptive exercise. It is not as simple as attaching a linguistic label to a particular business practice, as is the case with many other concepts in strategic management. It is a normative exercise in the sense that defining CSR requires enumerating what businesses should be responsible for in society. Taken far enough, defining CSR is also a political or ideological exercise that describes how a society’s political economy should be structured, bounded, and ultimately, controlled. Given its nature, it is not surprising that there is little agreement on the specifics. The Beal supplement is designed to allow strategy faculty to bring these ideas into a strategy class and debate them.