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date: 11 July 2020

The Corporate Social Responsibility Agenda

Abstract and Keywords

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has experienced a journey that is almost unique in the pantheon of ideas in the management literature. Its phenomenal rise to prominence in the 1990s and 2000s suggests that it is a relatively new area of academic research. This book seeks to offer such a critical reflection on some of the major debates that coalesce around the subject of CSR. Bringing together a range of voices from within, across, and around the management literature, this book is intended as an authoritative account available on the CSR literature as it stands today, from the world's leading scholars in the area. This introductory article provides an overview of CSR as a subject of academic inquiry, discusses the institutionalization of the CSR literature, and outlines the guiding principles adopted in assembling this book and selecting the contributors.

Keywords: corporate social responsibility, management literature, academic research, CSR literature, academic inquiry

Introduction

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has experienced a journey that is almost unique in the pantheon of ideas in the management literature. Its phenomenal rise to prominence in the 1990s and 2000s suggests that it is a relatively new area of academic research. However, the scholarly literature dates to at least the 1950s and commentators on business have written about the subject for considerably longer (see Carroll, Chapter 2). The basic questions at the heart of CSR are as old as business itself, such as what is a business for and what contribution does (p. 4) it make to society (Handy, 2002)? There is, it has to be said, no shortage of history to dwell on in the debate about CSR even if those who write about the subject rarely acknowledge as much.

The story of CSR is interesting because its rise to prominence has not been at all a smooth one, considering that along the way, CSR has been quite frequently discredited, written off, marginalized, or simply overlooked in favor of new or supposedly better ways of conceptualizing the business and society interface (there are by now a whole host of competing labels that cover the same or similar territory as CSR, including corporate citizenship, sustainable business, corporate responsibility, and corporate social performance). Until the 1990s, publications on CSR came in peaks and troughs, rather than a steady rise (De Bakker et al., 2005). And even since then, knowledge on CSR has arguably been more expansive than accumulative. For a subject that has been studied for so long, it is unusual to discover that researchers still do not share a common definition or set of core principles, that they still argue about what it means to be socially responsible, or even whether firms should have social responsibilities in the first place. Empirical researchers have been similarly unable to agree on the answer to the one question that has dominated CSR research probably more than any other over the past 30 years, which is whether CSR is good for business or not. Thus, a subject that even its proponents regard as ‘that most naïve of concepts’ (Mintzberg, 1983: 14), and which its critics acknowledge has ‘won the battle of ideas’ (Crook, 2005), has become a major area of research despite a degree of ambiguity and disagreement that might ordinarily be expected to lead to its demise (Hirsch and Levin, 1999).

The prominence now afforded to CSR as an academic field in part reflects the growing attention to the subject in the arenas of business, civil society, and government across the globe. This higher profile of CSR has been manifested in several ways. It has acquired distinctive organizational status within companies (e.g. in the designations of managers, staff teams, board‐level responsibilities, etc.), from where an outpouring of CSR programs, reports, and other forms of corporate communications has issued in recent years. Evidence suggests that 90% of the largest European companies now publish substantial information on their social and environmental impacts (Context, 2006), whilst more than 50% of the largest firms globally produce a stand‐alone CSR report under one label or another (KPMG, 2005). CSR campaigns have long been a significant feature of major Western multinationals such as BP, McDonald's, Nike, and Shell, but have also been manifested in Asian, African, and Latin American corporations, as well as small and medium‐sized enterprises (Crane et al., 2007).

Another factor increasing the importance of CSR is the substantial increase in socially responsible investment (SRI) funds that has occurred over the past decade (see Kurtz, Chapter 11). More generally, there has been a mushrooming of dedicated CSR consultancies and service organizations, as well as a burgeoning number of CSR standards, watchdogs, auditors, and certifiers aiming at institutionalizing (p. 5) and harmonizing CSR practices globally (see Ethical Performance, 2007; Leipziger, 2003). Governmental and intergovernmental organizations have also attempted to encourage investment in CSR, better reporting of social impacts by corporations, and the implementation of CSR initiatives that complement broader public policies. Similarly, various activists and NGOs have sought not only to promote CSR, but also to bring critical perspectives to bear and to raise CSR standards. Finally, there has been an increase in attention to CSR in mainstream print and electronic media as well as the emergence of dedicated CSR business publications, email lists, and newsletters.

What exactly these developments in the CSR ‘movement’ mean, of course, remains open to debate: whilst some see it as a management trend, others view it as a framework of ‘soft regulation’ that places new demands on corporations, whilst others present it as a way for corporate actors to assist in social and economic development (Sahlin‐Andersson, 2006). However, given the current interest in CSR, as well as the unusual path that the development of the literature has taken, it is, we would suggest, timely now to pause and reflect on what, if anything, we have learnt about CSR over the past decades. With a cornucopia of concepts, theories, and evidence emerging to ostensibly make sense of CSR, there is a clear need to establish some markers in the field to identify where we have got to, where we have come from, and where the future might take us in thinking and writing about CSR.

This Handbook seeks to offer such a critical reflection on some of the major debates that coalesce around the subject of CSR. Bringing together a range of voices from within, across, and around the management literature, the book is intended to be the most authoritative account available of the CSR literature as it stands today, from the world's leading scholars in the area. In this introduction, we will provide an overview of CSR as a subject of academic inquiry, discuss the institutionalization of the CSR literature, and outline the guiding principles that we have adopted in assembling the Handbook and selecting the contributors.

CSR as a Field of Academic Inquiry: Definitions and Boundaries

Few subjects in management arouse as much controversy and contestation as CSR. As will become clear in reading the chapters in this volume, definitions of the term abound to the extent that even now ‘there is no strong consensus on a definition for CSR’ (McWilliams et al., 2006). If, like corporate citizenship, CSR is an ‘essentially contested concept’ (Moon et al., 2005), this may be inevitable. Archie Carroll (see Chapter 2) provides an extensive overview of some of these definitions, but even (p. 6) if we compare just two early examples, we can see a great deal of variation in different authors' assumptions about what firms should be responsible for. Whilst Milton Friedman (1970) contends that ‘the social responsibility of the firm is to increase its profits’, Keith Davis (1973: 312) argues that CSR requires ‘consideration of issues beyond the narrow economic, technical, and legal requirements of the firm’. Similarly, in the current volume, the definitions provided by the chapter authors range from CSR as an ‘obligation to respond to the externalities created by market action’ (Salazar and Husted, Chapter 6), to CSR as ‘discretionary spending in furtherance of an explicit measurable social objective consistent with relevant social norms and laws’ (Dunfee, Chapter 15), and CSR as entailing ‘an additional political responsibility to contribute to the development and proper working of global governance’ (Scherer and Palazzo, Chapter 18). Many of our contributors understandably discuss problems in reaching a concrete definition of CSR in this context, whilst others perhaps wisely avoid the matter entirely and deliberately choose to focus on specific elements only.

What is clear then is that defining CSR is not just a technical exercise in describing what corporations do in society. Definitional work in CSR is also a normative exercise in setting out what corporations should be responsible for in society, or even an ideological exercise in describing how the political economy of society should be organized to restrain corporate power (Marens, 2004). In this context, it is understandable that the status of CSR as a well‐defined and widely agreed upon concept in the management literature remains elusive. Indeed, without clear agreement on its core tenets, it would seem unwarranted and probably unnecessary even to classify CSR as a theoretical construct or concept in the first place.

We would suggest, therefore, that for the purposes of this Handbook, CSR is best understood not as a concept, a construct, or a theory but as a field of scholarship (Lockett et al., 2006). The reason for this is that although various authors have developed important and influential concepts, constructs, and theories of CSR, these are competing with many other concepts, constructs, and theories of CSR. Thus, a comprehensive overview of CSR has to accommodate such difference rather than eschew it in favor of a closely defined term. That said, we might at least suggest that at the core of these debates is the subject of the social obligations and impacts of corporations in society.

Bibliometric analyses of the CSR literature show that despite its identifiable set of core concerns, not to mention its relatively long history, CSR is still a developing field of research. De Bakker et al.'s (2005) analysis of over 500 articles on CSR from the last 30 years led them to conclude that ‘the field is vibrant and developing’, but that ‘a refinement and further operationalization of the general central concepts’ is not evident. Similarly, Lockett et al. (2006: 133) recently concluded from a study of the CSR literature over a ten‐year period that ‘CSR knowledge could best be described as in a continuing state of emergence. While the field appears well established … it is not characterised by the domination of a particular (p. 7) theoretical approach, assumptions and method.’ It is, they suggested, ‘a field without a paradigm’.

The lack of a clear paradigm for CSR research should not necessarily be seen as a weakness for a field that is still in a state of emergence. However, it does mean that anyone looking for a field marked by clarity, consensus, and cohesiveness is likely to be disappointed. The field of scholarship that CSR represents is a broad and diverse one, encompassing debates from many perspectives, disciplines, and ideological positions. It is located at an intersection of many contributing disciplines. Its natural home is arguably in the management literature, but even here, CSR has been approached from a variety of subdisciplines such as strategy, marketing, accounting, operations management, and organizational behavior. Notably, work on CSR has also increasingly originated from other sources, such as law, economics, political science, development studies, geography, area studies, sociology, and history, amongst others. This brings to the literature a diversity of theoretical perspectives, conceptual approaches, and empirical traditions that does little to engender consensus around core concepts, but does much to enrich and enliven the debate.

Institutionalization of CSR as a Field of Scholarship

The relative ambiguities discussed earlier in this chapter regarding the definition and clear identity of CSR as an area of academic inquiry are also reflected in the institutional infrastructure of CSR, most notably the journals where CSR research is published, the societies and conferences which facilitate scholarly debate, and the institutionalization of CSR as a field of academic teaching.

Table 1.1 provides an overview of the key specialist journals that would typically be considered as the most likely places to find published CSR research. Conspicuously, with one fairly recent exception, none of the journals has CSR in its title. Rather the debate has taken place under the broader umbrella of ‘business and society’ or with a more disciplinary focus under the label of ‘business ethics’. While these journals would be considered the main specialist CSR journals, and indeed many important contributions can be found in these journals, we would like to add three important observations. First, a considerable number of—often even seminal—contributions have been published in so‐called mainstream management journals (Lockett et al., 2006), such as the Academy of Management Journal, the Academy of Management Review, California Management Review, or Harvard Business Review. In a similar vein, we have seen a considerable number of special (p. 8) issues dedicated to CSR in mainstream journals, such as the Journal of International Business Studies (vol. 37, no. 6) or the Journal of Management Studies (vol. 43, no. 1). These developments towards mainstream acceptance of CSR as an academic field of scholarship apply not only to US‐based management journals but also to some of the more critical organization theory journals in Europe, such as Organization Studies or Organization, which have recently started to publish more CSR‐related research.

Table 1.1 Academic journals in the field of Corporate Social Responsibility

Journal name

Formation date

Current editor based in

Business & Society (Sage)

1960

USA

Business and Society Review (Blackwell)

1972

USA

Journal of Business Ethics (Springer)

1982

Canada

Business Ethics Quarterly (Society for Business Ethics)

1991

USA

Business Ethics: A European Review (Blackwell)

1991

UK

Corporate Governance: the International Journal of Business in Society (Emerald)

2001

UK

Journal of Corporate Citizenship (Greenleaf)

2001

UK

Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management (previously Ecomanagement and Auditing, Wiley)

2002

China (Hong Kong)

Second, even though the journals in Table 1.1 can be considered the main CSR journals, there are a number of outlets close to the topic which many scholars interested in CSR would consider a natural outlet for their work. Journals focusing on sustainability and environmental management, such as Organization & Environment, Business Strategy and the Environment, or Sustainable Development have all published research which—with a focus on the natural environment—could also be considered to be a contribution to the wider CSR debate. Next to environmental management, the field of accounting has also made a considerable contribution to CSR knowledge, in particular the journals Accounting, Organizations and Society, Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, and Critical Perspectives on Accounting. Many papers published in these journals today would be considered as core contributions to the CSR literature. A similar overlap can be witnessed in the area of corporate governance, where for instance Corporate Governance: An International Review and Journal of Management and Governance have published a considerable number of papers and special issues on governance‐related aspects of CSR. Another neighboring area would be public management and public affairs, where for instance the Journal of Public Affairs has published a sizeable number of papers on classic topics of CSR. In addition to these neighboring fields in management studies, there is also a considerable debate on CSR in journals in (p. 9) economics, politics, international relations, law, and sociology which clearly reflects the interdisciplinary nature of the emerging CSR field.

A third observation would be that while most of these main journals are published in North America and the UK there is a considerable debate on CSR going on in various non‐English languages. Examples are the Italian Etica degli Affari e delle Professione (founded 1988), the French Revue Ethique des Affaires (1995), the German Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts‐ und Unternehmensethik (2000), or most recently and more pronounced in CSR, the French Revue de l'Organisation Responsible—Responsible Organization Review (2005).

Beyond the world of academic journal publishing, it is also worth noting that we have lately witnessed a growing number of edited collections on key topics in CSR. While this Oxford Handbook of Corporate Social Responsibility for the first time attempts to take stock of the entire debate, similar efforts have been undertaken in specific topics of CSR, such as stakeholder management (Andriof et al., 2002, 2003), sustainability (Sharma and Starik, 2002; Starik and Sharma, 2005), global aspects of CSR (Doh and Stumpf, 2005) or corporate citizenship (Scherer and Palazzo, forthcoming). In a similar category, we should also mention the books in the series Research in Corporate Social Performance and Policy (JAI Press, started in 1978), which for many years published some of the key contributions to the CSR literature.

An important indicator of the institutionalization of CSR can also be seen in the growing number of conferences and learned societies interested in CSR. Among the most longstanding are we could mention the Society for Business Ethics (SBE) and the Social Issues in Management‐Division of the Academy of Management (SIM), both of which bring together many scholars from all over the world in their annual meetings in North America. Similarly, the International Association for Business and Society (IABS) serves as a platform for CSR research with a specific mission to bring together scholars from both sides of the Atlantic. More focused on business ethics is the International Society for Business, Ethics and Economics (ISBEE), which understands itself as a global organization, and hosts a large international conference every four years in a different continent. There are also more regionally focused initiatives, such as the European Business Ethics Network (EBEN) or, more recently and more focused on CSR, the European Academy of Business in Society (EABiS, founded in 2002), both of which have annual conferences, and a plethora of smaller workshops and seminars. Many of the more recent initiatives, such as the Hong Kong‐ and Singapore‐based CSR Asia or the German national chapter of EBEN, the Deutsches Netzwerk Wirtschaftsethik (DNWE), have a large involvement by practitioners and industry, reflecting the growing demand for CSR expertise in many companies in the respective countries and regions. Given the recent surge in interest in CSR outside the United States we witness a growing number of initiatives in many European countries and beyond, such as the French Association pour le Développement de l'Enseignement et de la Recherche sur la Responsabilité Sociale (p. 10) de l'Entreprise (ADERSE), or a growing number of national chapters of EBEN, to establish national learned societies facilitating scholarly exchange in CSR.

Traditionally, CSR research has often been established at universities in special units, centers, or institutes. US examples include the Center for Business Ethics at Bentley College or the Olsson Centre for Applied Ethics at the University of Virginia. The growth in interest in CSR globally is reflected by a considerable surge in new research units dedicated to CSR at many universities in Europe (e.g. International Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility, Nottingham; Department for Business‐Society Management, Rotterdam), Australia (e.g. Corporate Citizenship Research Unit, Deakin), India (e.g. Centre for Corporate Governance and Citizenship, Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore), China (e.g. CSR Asia, Hong Kong), and South Africa (e.g. African Institute of Corporate Citizenship, UNISA).

Relatedly, many of those who contribute to the CSR research are educators, and mainly business or management school educators. As Windsor (Chapter 22) outlines, there has been considerable debate about the general role of business school education for responsible management and about the status and nature of CSR education therein. Notwithstanding earlier claims of an intellectual bias against business ethics in business schools (e.g. Hosmer, 1999), there is some evidence of a greater interest in consolidating the CSR field in at least certain business schools around the world as presented by the Beyond Grey Pinstripes reports (World Resources Institute, various years).

However, the focus remains quite heterogeneous. A study of CSR education in Europe (Matten and Moon, 2004) confirmed our general finding of the variety of underlying meanings of CSR scholarship. Programs and modules described as CSR were offered under a range of labels including business ethics, CSR, environmental management, and sustainable development.

All of this points to a burgeoning and multifaceted field of scholarship. Our tasks in this book are to try and provide a comprehensive overview of this field, offer ways of navigating through the academic terrain of corporate social responsibility, and set out some markers for where we are, where we have come from, and where we are going as academics working in the field.

The Scope of the Contributions in this Volume

The range of contributions and the variety of backgrounds of the contributors to this volume provide an impressive overview of the debate on CSR. First, there are a number of contributors who count among the main voices in CSR and (p. 11) have informed our fundamental understanding of the concept and the wider field. Among these are Archie Carroll, Tom Dunfee, Bill Frederick, and David Vogel, who for the last four decades have published on CSR and who, among others, can be considered among the most longstanding contributors to this area of research. Besides these leading voices, the authors brought together in this volume also showcase the breadth and variety of disciplinary backgrounds which are necessary to understand CSR. This pertains, first, to management or business studies as a discipline itself, where CSR cuts across all the usual specializations—as such, this volume brings together perspectives from accounting, business ethics, critical management, finance, international business, marketing, organizational theory, strategy, and sustainability. As we have already noted, there has also always been a lively debate on the role and responsibilities of business in neighboring disciplines. This volume therefore reflects the interdisciplinary nature of the subject of CSR and brings together perspectives from a large variety of social sciences, most notably cultural studies, economics, international relations, law, philosophy, politics, and sociology. In assembling such a variety of perspectives the contributions in this volume demonstrate the need for an inter‐ and trans‐disciplinary approach to CSR.

It has often been argued that CSR is an essentially American idea that reflects a specific understanding of the role of markets, governments, business, and civil society. As this is certainly true with regard to the origins of the CSR debate, it does not come as a surprise that the majority of contributions in this volume are authored by scholars based at academic institutions in the United States. The range of authors, however, also reflects the recent global spread of CSR, bringing together scholars based in, or with close links to, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Israel, Mexico, Spain, South Africa, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

Key Building Blocks of CSR

The book is structured into seven substantive parts. After this introductory part, Part II is dedicated to mapping out the perspectives on CSR. These have varied over time, by academic discipline, and among national business systems. The purpose of this part is therefore to provide an overview of these different perspectives and to explain how they relate to, complement, or challenge one another.

In Chapter 2 Archie Carroll provides a comprehensive historical overview of the main practices and ideas in CSR over the last 50 years. This demonstrates a significant legacy of disparate conceptual work in the area, which in Chapter 3 Domènec Melé takes stock of to provide a state‐of‐the‐art review of CSR theory. (p. 12) In contrast to Chapter 2, which provides an historical overview, this chapter is structured more analytically in order to group and distinguish specific theoretical approaches to the subject. While many see CSR as an imperative based on non‐economic, most notably ethical and social grounds, a vast amount of the CSR literature has aimed at showing that socially responsible behavior in fact can also make very good business sense. This debate is addressed by Elizabeth Kurucz, Barry Colbert, and David Wheeler in Chapter 4 who discuss the basic arguments around the business case for CSR. In fact, this literature is one of the most developed areas in CSR and has led to a debate around the social and financial performance of the corporation and ways in which these can be measured and managed—which is the focus of Chapter 5 by Marc Orlitzky.

Even where there is agreement about the meaning of CSR, its application and scope are often contested in both normative and empirical terms. Conspicuously, one of the key features of CSR has always been its contested nature. Even at the early stages of its emergence as a business practice in the United States it solicited the most heated antagonism and venomous critique, illustrated most famously by Milton Friedman's (1970) landmark newspaper article as well as, more recently, a skeptical survey on CSR in The Economist in 2005 (Crook, 2005). Part III therefore takes stock of the critiques of CSR, starting with Chapter 6 by José Salazar and Bryan Husted who examine the Friedman critique and refine it with a more nuanced view of agency from an economic perspective. CSR, though, has not only been met with skepticism from right‐wing economists such as Friedman but also from the left of the political spectrum. Chapter 7 by Gerry Hanlon provides an overview of the latter debate, highlighting, for example, elements of the Marxist critique of CSR. Chapter 8 by Tim Kuhn and Stan Deetz goes on to examine CSR from the angle of critical theory while in Chapter 9 Hans van Oosterhout and Pursey Heugens refute the underlying conceptual need for CSR in the first place. All told, these critiques offer some serious challenges to the CSR field, although the conclusions reached by each of the contributors differ as to their degree of optimism or pessimism regarding its potential.

Part IV turns to the multifaceted arena in which CSR is enacted by corporations and provides a detailed analysis of the key actors and their roles in driving CSR. First, in Chapter 10, Diane Swanson looks at managers and their role and motivation in driving CSR. Chapter 11 by Lloyd Kurtz looks at shareholder activism and the industry that has emerged around socially responsible investment, which has put pressure on publicly listed companies to comply with basic ethical and social standards. In a similar vein, Chapter 12 by Craig Smith surveys the potential and limits of consumers in demanding socially responsible behavior through their decisions at the checkout. Finally, Chapter 13 by Jeremy Moon and David Vogel examines the role of governments and civil society in shaping and encouraging CSR.

As we have argued above, there has been quite controversy about the status of CSR as a ‘subject’, ‘management discipline’, or ‘field’, much of which is fuelled by (p. 13) the fact that claims to more socially responsible behavior reach the corporation in nearly every aspect of its operations. Thus, it is rather difficult to establish a distinct set of management concepts, tools, and areas which are unique to CSR as such. There are however some aspects of management where CSR might arguably claim to provide a distinct contribution to the arsenal of management concepts and tools. The discussion in Part V then starts with the area of corporate governance, where CSR thinking has arguably had the biggest impact. Chapter 14 by Ann Buchholtz, Jill Brown, and Kareem Shabana outlines the relationship between corporate governance and CSR. Tom Dunfee in Chapter 15 provides a basic understanding of stakeholder thinking, arguably one of the very few theoretical frameworks generated by the CSR literature itself, to explore the management challenges of CSR. Andrew Millington in Chapter 16 then provides a comprehensive overview of one of the main areas where CSR issues have impacted upon firms across the globe, namely the supply chain. Probably one of the most distinct management areas which CSR can claim to have created over the last years is the area of social and environmental accounting. David Owen and Brendan O'Dwyer map out this area of corporate involvement in CSR in Chapter 17.

From the early 1970s—in the context of Western corporations' role in apartheid South Africa—up to the very recent time—linked to debates on sweatshop labor, fair trade, or the global fight against HIV/AIDS—the CSR agenda has been decisively pushed by international issues. Part VI turns attention to this arena. First, in Chapter 18 Andreas Scherer and Guido Palazzo analyze the advent of globalization and delineate its impact on the corporation and its social responsibilities. They suggest that the corporation, as a responsible actor at the global level, positions business next to governments and NGOs in the arena of global governance. Chapter 19 by David Levy and Rami Kaplan provides a basic understanding of this critical issue by providing theoretical perspectives, mostly drawn from politics and international relations, to understand the new challenges for the corporate world at the global level. As we argued above, the main debate on CSR over the last 50 years has been strongly focused on North America, but the more recent attention to its global diffusion suggests the need to understand CSR in comparative perspective. Thus, in Chapter 20, Cynthia Williams and Ruth Aguilera go on to explore how CSR can reflect wider national business and governance systems, such as market structures and rules, institutional norms, and respective responsibilities of governments, corporations and other social actors. A particularly exposed role, most notably for multinational corporations from the global north, is emerging for corporations in developing countries. Wayne Visser maps out the crucial role and responsibilities for business in fighting poverty and acting responsibly in developing countries in Chapter 21.

While the area of CSR is mature enough to warrant the effort of a comprehensive overview in the Oxford Handbook series, it is still a relatively young and currently a very dynamic area. The final part invites the reader to share some (p. 14) of the expectations and visions of thought leaders in CSR with regard to future developments in the field. This pertains, first of all, to its role as an established element in the curriculum of (business) education. In Chapter 22 Duane Windsor discusses the current status of CSR in MBA education (as the flagship product of business schools) and assesses the state‐of‐the‐art as well as the demands for future curriculum development. With five short essays by Bill Frederick; Alison Mackey, Tyson Mackey, and Jay Barney; Tom Donaldson; Peter Pruzan; and Ulrich Steger, the book then finishes with personal impressions on the future of CSR by well‐known experts from both sides of the Atlantic. The book closes with some conclusions by the editors.

This Handbook is an attempt to try and make sense of these interweaving, yet disparate strands of literature in so far as they help us to understand the messy and multifaceted reality of CSR. We do not seek as much as to clear up the confusion that characterizes the field, but more to identify the core areas of research activity and establish the key themes, arguments, and findings that may be relevant to those areas. The book is intended to be a milestone in setting out where the CSR literature has come from, and where it is (or could be) going to in order to provide some kind of coherent overview or orientation for scholars working in the field.

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