CHAPTER 3

Corporate Social Responsibility

HEATHER ELMS

Associate Professor, Kogod School of Business, American University

MICHELLE WESTERMANN-BEHAYLO

Assistant Professor, Kogod School of Business, American University

INTRODUCTION

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) attracts considerable attention among academics, practitioners, and the popular press. Yet understandings of CSR and the foci of analyses vary across these discussions. This chapter focuses on various academic discussions of CSR among several business disciplines (business ethics, finance, accounting, and marketing). The intention is to further acquaint each of these fields with the others’ research, and thus provide each with material for future investigations including interdisciplinary studies. In particular, because other disciplines’ literatures do not reflect several key themes in the business ethics literature, the chapter discusses the evolution of CSR thinking in business ethics and identifies several key issues currently at the forefront of the business ethics discussion.

The remainder of the chapter has the following organization. The first section provides an overview of the business ethics literature on CSR. The next two sections discuss how the finance, accounting, and marketing literatures currently reflect the evolution of thinking on CSR in business ethics, including key issues. These sections discuss how greater use of the business ethics literature on CSR might contribute to CSR discussions in each ...

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