Business Ethics: A European Review 25 (3):258-285 (2016)

Based on a survey and content analysis of 462 peer-reviewed academic articles over the period 1990–2014, this article reviews theories related to the external drivers of corporate social responsibility and the internal drivers of CSR that have been utilized to explain CSR. The article discusses the main tenets of the principal theoretical perspectives and their application in CSR research. Going beyond previous reviews that have largely failed to investigate theory applications in CSR scholarship, this article stresses the importance of theory-driven explanations of CSR and the complementarity of different theories. The article demonstrates that the current mainstream theorizing of CSR is dominated by theories related to the external drivers of CSR and is less developed with regard to the internal dynamics. The article outlines several productive avenues for future research: the need for multi-theory studies and more research at multiple levels of analysis, particularly at the individual level of analysis. It suggests that CSR scholarship can benefit from combining theoretical insights from a range of established theoretical lenses such as institutional theory and RBV, and can gain new insights from theoretical lenses such as Austrian economics and micro-level psychological theories.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/beer.12115
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: 71,512
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.
Social Theory and Social Structure.Lawrence Haworth - 1961 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 11 (44):345-346.

View all 99 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Stakeholder Theory: A Deliberative Perspective.Ulf Henning Richter & Kevin E. Dow - 2017 - Business Ethics: A European Review 26 (4):428-442.

View all 48 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Toward a General Theory of CSRs.Paul Godfrey - 2010 - Business and Society 49 (2):316-344.
From Theory to Practice to Study Social Responsibility of Multinational Corporations.Bin Sheng & Bo Hu - 2008 - Nankai University (Philosophy and Social Sciences) 4:116-123.
How to Explain Socially Responsible Corporate Actions Institutionally: Theoretical and Methodological Critique.Ville-Pekka Sorsa - 2008 - Electronic Journal of Business Ethics and Organization Studies 13 (1):32-41.
Legal Perspectives on Corporate Responsibility: Contractarian or Communitarian Thought?Jeffrey Bone - 2011 - Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence 24 (2):277-304.


Added to PP index

Total views
52 ( #220,219 of 2,520,893 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
4 ( #166,872 of 2,520,893 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes