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date: 24 April 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This contribution not only tries to place the current debate in the context of developments over the last twenty-five years, but also exhorts academics to design less ‘holistic’ concepts (which easily degenerate into propaganda used in political debate), to contribute to transparency by providing sober empirical evidence, and to express more appreciation for marginal yet continuous incremental improvements in the business world. The public rhetoric about corporate social responsibility has not had any significant effect on everyday life in the corporate sector, nor has the wealth of currently available academic research and suggestions. To put it in a nutshell: even for the most risk-exposed companies or industries, everything beyond the (hard-) core business is of secondary importance. Any empirical evidence is only a snapshot of the status quo. Identifying drivers for change and emerging trends is a more compelling challenge than simply describing the current state of affairs.

Keywords: empirical evidence, business world, political debate, corporate social responsibility, academic research

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