Conceptualizing the Dynamics of Social Responsibility: Evidence from a Case Study of Estonia

Journal of Business Ethics 81 (2):371-385 (2008)
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During the last decade and a half, Estonia has concentrated predominantly on economic development in its narrowest sense. Currently, the emphasis is gradually moving towards a broader approach, including an increasingly social agenda. The research question here concerns the awareness of corporate social responsibility among Estonian owners and managers. Empirical research in Estonia indicates that there has been a shift towards recognizing the importance of social responsibility, but this primarily concerns the “lower layers” of social responsibility, recognizing the importance of economic responsibility and in some respects also public responsibility. Responses in interviews show a certain amount of personal initiative, but these are single examples rather than a general trend and are not enough to change the overall picture. Still, in any assessment of the current situation regarding social responsibility in Estonia, emphasis should be laid on the fact that changes are taking effect and will continue to do so. In transition economies, including Estonia, we should not overlook the fact that, at least in the early years of transition, the focus is on a rapid economic development where the social side will inevitably be left in the background and economic development will take place at the expense of social and environmental development



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