Corporate social responsibility: addressing uncertainty in the business case
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The notion that corporations would voluntarily devote resources to serve non-shareholder interests seems to contradict the purpose of commerce. Yet, corporate social responsibility ranks among the most prominent aspects of contemporary capitalism, reaching – in the words of one author – a point of nearly universal adoption among businesses. Over four decades of empirical testing has provided no incontrovertible evidence to support the belief that businesses benefit, even in the long run, from responsible behaviour. Peculiarly, then, it appears that corporations are defying the logic of competitive markets by investing in CSR en masse without an established business case for doing so. Inspiring the work is a research question rooted in the observation of a counter-intuitive: if not profit, in every circumstance, what is turning the attention of nearly every major corporation away from their bottom line and towards social interests? The thesis explores what other factors may lay behind the business community’s curious adoption of CSR, including a new hypothesis that corporate leaders may be diverging from the normative ideal of rational choice and following boundedly-rational patterns of behaviour. It argues that CSR is a form of risk-averse corporate behaviour from a private sector that has seen tremendous growth and gain since the end of the Second World War.
DegreeMaster of Arts (M.A.)
CommitteeDeonandan, Kalowatie; Hibbert, Neil; Bruneau, Joel
Copyright DateAugust 2014
Corporate social responsibility