, Volume 70, Issue 1, pp 87-98
Date: 05 Jul 2006

Researching Corporate Social Responsibility: An Agenda for the 21st Century

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ABSTRACT

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a tortured concept. We review the current state of the art across a number of academic disciplines, from accounting to management to theology. In a world that is increasingly global and pluralistic, progress in our understanding of CSR must include theorizing around the micro-level processes practicing managers engage in when allocating resources toward social initiatives, as well as refined measurement of the outcomes of those initiatives on stakeholder and shareholder interests. Scholarship must also account for the influence of diverse, and even mal-adaptive, stakeholders as well as more fully incorporate non-Western philosophical and economic perspectives. Based on this review, we pose five questions that scholars from each of these disciplines should address as the CSR field moves forward. We hope our questions provoke deeper thinking and greater rigor and attention to detail in this important area of business research.

Accompanying manuscript for the conference, Ethical Dimensions in Business: Reflections from the business academic community, University of Notre Dame
Paul C. Godfrey is an associate professor of strategy at Brigham Young University's Marriott School of Management. His research interests include corporate strategy, decision making, and corporate social responsibility.
Nile W. Hatch is an assistant professor at Brigham Young University's Marriott School of Management. His research interests include techonology management, game theory, real options, and corporate social responsibility.