Journal of Business Ethics 116 (3):615-627 (2013)

The purpose of this paper is to highlight the importance and impact of terminology used to describe corporate social responsibility (CSR). Through a review of key literature and concepts, we uncover how the economic business case has become the dominant driver behind CSR action. With reference to the literature on semiotics, connotative meaning and social marketing we explore how the terminology itself may have facilitated this co-opting of an ethical concept by economic interests. The broader issue of moral muteness and its relation to ethical behaviour is considered. We conclude by proposing a number of important attributes for any proposed terminology relating to ethical/socially responsible/sustainable business
Keywords Corporate social responsibility  Ethical footprint  Instrumental CSR  Moral muteness  Semiotics  Terminology
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s10551-012-1498-9
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 63,319
External links

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

Capitalism and Freedom.Milton Friedman - 1962 - Ethics 74 (1):70-72.

View all 30 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Bankers Bashing Back: Amoral CSR Justifications.Peter Norberg - 2018 - Journal of Business Ethics 147 (2):401-418.

View all 10 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles


Added to PP index

Total views
37 ( #291,201 of 2,448,685 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
4 ( #178,584 of 2,448,685 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes