Stakeholder theory has gained currency in the business and society literature in recent years in light␣of its practicality from the perspective of managers and scholars. In accounting for the recent ascendancy of␣stakeholder theory, this article presents an overview of␣two traditional conceptualizations of corporate social␣responsibility (CSR) (Carroll: 1979, ‹A Three-Dimensional Conceptual Model of Corporate Performance', The Academy of Management Review 4(4), 497–505 and Wood: 1991, ‹Corporate Social Performance Revisited', The Academy of Management Review 16(4), 691–717), highlighting their predominant inclination toward providing static taxonomic CSR descriptions. The article then makes the case for a stakeholder approach to CSR, reviewing its rationale and outlining how it has␣been integrated into recent empirical studies. In light of this review, the article adopts a stakeholder framework – the Ethical Performance Scorecard (EPS) proposed by Spiller (2000, ‹Ethical Business and Investment: A Model For Business and Society', Journal of Business Ethics 27, 149–160) – to examine the CSR approach of a sample of␣Lebanese and Syrian firms with an interest in CSR␣and␣test relevant hypotheses derived from the CSR/stakeholder literature. The findings are analyzed and implications drawn regarding the usefulness of a stakeholder approach to CSR.