How Corporate Social Responsibility Is defiNed

In: Business and Management

Submitted By walt2wall
Words 6452
Pages 26
Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management
Corp. Soc. Responsib. Environ. Mgmt. (in press)
Published online in Wiley InterScience
(www.interscience.wiley.com) DOI: 10.1002/csr.132

How Corporate Social Responsibility is
Defined: an Analysis of 37 Definitions
Alexander Dahlsrud*
Department of Industrial Economics and Technology Management,
Faculty of Social Science and Technology Management, Norwegian University of
Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway
ABSTRACT
Despite numerous efforts to bring about a clear and unbiased definition of CSR, there is still some confusion as to how CSR should be defined. In this paper five dimensions of CSR are developed through a content analysis of existing CSR definitions.
Frequency counts are used to analyse how often these dimensions are invoked. The analysis shows that the existing definitions are to a large degree congruent. Thus it is concluded that the confusion is not so much about how CSR is defined, as about how CSR is socially constructed in a specific context. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley
& Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.
Received 24 April 2006; revised 31 August 2006; accepted 18 September 2006
Keywords: analysis; corporate social responsibility; definitions; discourse; social construction

Introduction
HE CORPORATE WORLD IS FACING THE NOTION OF CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY (CSR) wherever it turns these days. On a wide range of issues corporations are encouraged to behave socially responsibly (Welford and Frost, 2006; Engle, 2006). However, in both the corporate and the academic world there is uncertainty as to how CSR should be defined. Some go as far as saying ‘We have looked for a definition and basically there isn’t one’ (Jackson and Hawker, 2001). This is not quite true; the problem is rather that there is an abundance of definitions, which are, according to Van Marrewijk (2003),…...

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