Theorising corporate social responsibility as an essentially contested concept: Is a definition necessary? [Book Review]
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Journal of Business Ethics 89 (4):613 - 627 (2009)
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become indispensable in modern business discourse; yet identifying and defining what CSR means is open to contest. Although such contestation is not uncommon with concepts found in the social sciences, for CSR it presents some difficulty for theoretical and empirical analysis, especially with regards to verifying that diverse application of the concept is consistent or concomitant. On the other hand, it seems unfeasible that the diversity of issues addressed under the CSR umbrella would yield to a singular universal definition. Gallie, an eminent philosophical scholar, proposed the essentially contested concepts (ECC) theory in 1956 to address concepts that by their very nature engender perpetual disputes. He pointed out that there are certain concepts which by their very nature are inevitably contested and prescribed seven criteria for evaluating such concepts. This article examines these criteria to discover if CSR is an essentially contested concept and in that case, to construe if such a change in perception will resolve the definitional crisis. The analysis suggests that CSR is an ECC and this explains the potential for several conceptions of CSR, however, it does not totally obviate the need for a definition of its core or common reference point, if only to ensure that the contestants are dealing with an identical subject matter.
|Keywords||Corporate social responsibility essentially contested concepts business society definition|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
John Rawls (1971/2005). A Theory of Justice. Harvard University Press.
Elisabet Garriga & Domènec Melé (2004). Corporate Social Responsibility Theories: Mapping the Territory. [REVIEW] Journal of Business Ethics 53 (1-2):51-71.
Michael C. Jensen (2002). Value Maximization, Stakeholder Theory, and the Corporate Objective Function. Business Ethics Quarterly 12 (2):235-256.
Guido Palazzo & Andreas Georg Scherer (2006). Corporate Legitimacy as Deliberation: A Communicative Framework. [REVIEW] Journal of Business Ethics 66 (1):71 - 88.
Marcel van Marrewijk (2003). Concepts and Definitions of CSR and Corporate Sustainability: Between Agency and Communion. [REVIEW] Journal of Business Ethics 44 (2-3):95-105.
Citations of this work BETA
Gregory Jackson & Androniki Apostolakou (2010). Corporate Social Responsibility in Western Europe: An Institutional Mirror or Substitute? [REVIEW] Journal of Business Ethics 94 (3):371 - 394.
Kenneth Amaeshi, Emmanuel Adegbite & Tazeeb Rajwani (forthcoming). Corporate Social Responsibility in Challenging and Non-Enabling Institutional Contexts: Do Institutional Voids Matter? Journal of Business Ethics.
Ina Freeman & Amir Hasnaoui (2011). The Meaning of Corporate Social Responsibility: The Vision of Four Nations. [REVIEW] Journal of Business Ethics 100 (3):419 - 443.
Chieh-Peng Lin, Nyan-Myau Lyau, Yuan-Hui Tsai, Wen-Yung Chen & Chou-Kang Chin (2010). Modeling Corporate Citizenship and Its Relationship with Organizational Citizenship Behaviors. Journal of Business Ethics 95 (3):357 - 372.
Eric Guthey & Mette Morsing (2014). CSR and the Mediated Emergence of Strategic Ambiguity. Journal of Business Ethics 120 (4):555-569.
Similar books and articles
Junwei Shi, Haiyan Fu & Lijun Hu (2007). Social Responsibility, Social Capital, and Corporate Competitive Advantage in Transitional China. International Corporate Responsibility Series 3:377-394.
Luuk Knippenberg & Edwin B. P. de Jong (2010). Moralising the Market by Moralising the Firm. Journal of Business Ethics 96 (1):17-31.
Vladimir Petkoski (2007). From International Corporate Responsibility to Local CSR. International Corporate Responsibility Series 3:283-295.
Duygu Turker (2009). Measuring Corporate Social Responsibility: A Scale Development Study. [REVIEW] Journal of Business Ethics 85 (4):411 - 427.
Lisa Whitehouse (2006). Corporate Social Responsibility: Views From the Frontline. [REVIEW] Journal of Business Ethics 63 (3):279 - 296.
Thomas Maak (2008). Undivided Corporate Responsibility: Towards a Theory of Corporate Integrity. [REVIEW] Journal of Business Ethics 82 (2):353 - 368.
Cameron Sabadoz (2011). Between Profit-Seeking and Prosociality: Corporate Social Responsibility as Derridean Supplement. Journal of Business Ethics 104 (1):77-91.
Andrew Mason (1990). On Explaining Political Disagreement: The Notion of an Essentially Contested Concept. Inquiry 33 (1):81 – 98.
Lei Wang & Heikki Juslin (2009). The Impact of Chinese Culture on Corporate Social Responsibility: The Harmony Approach. [REVIEW] Journal of Business Ethics 88 (3):433 - 451.
Samantha Miles (2012). Stakeholder: Essentially Contested or Just Confused? [REVIEW] Journal of Business Ethics 108 (3):285-298.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads104 ( #23,470 of 1,725,464 )
Recent downloads (6 months)13 ( #53,223 of 1,725,464 )
How can I increase my downloads?