The Paradox of Corporate Social Responsibility Standards

Journal of Business Ethics 125 (2):1-15 (2014)
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The purpose of this paper is to provide a constructive criticism of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) standards. After pointing out a number of benefits and limitations in the effectiveness of CSR standards, both from a theoretical point of view and in the light of empirical evidence, we formulate and discuss a Paradox of CSR standards: despite being well-intended, CSR standards can favor the emergence of a thoughtless, blind and blinkered mindset which is counterproductive of their aim of enhancing the social responsibility of the organization. We analyze three problems that might underlie the Paradox—namely the problem of deceptive measurements; the problem of responsibility erosion and the problem of blinkered culture. We apply the philosophical tradition of American Pragmatism to reflect on these issues in relation to different types of existing standards, and conclude by suggesting a number of considerations that could help both CSR standards developers and users to address the Paradox



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References found in this work

Consequences of Pragmatism: Essays 1972-1980.Richard Rorty - 1982 - University of Minnesota Press.
The public and its problems.John Dewey - 1927 - Athens: Swallow Press. Edited by Melvin L. Rogers.
Objectivity, relativism, and truth.Richard Rorty - 1991 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
The collapse of the fact/value dichotomy and other essays.Hilary Putnam - 2002 - Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

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