A Leasehold Approach to Corporate Social Responsibility

  • Martin M. Greller
  • Sean R. ValentineEmail author


Corporate social responsibility (CSR) connects organizations with various environments and constituencies. CSR is enacted through governance and strategic processes, yet this can cause distortions as the process conforms to an agency theory narrative. This paper analyzes the role agency plays in CSR and offers an alternative (the leasehold approach) that uniquely describes the relationships among owners, organizational leadership, and contemporary management practices. An alternative to the existing paradigm is explored by 1) acknowledging the robust role of leaders in determining vision, strategy and CSR, 2) recognizing that governance balances obligations to multiple parties to whom leaders have committed, 3) allowing that those commitments determine the organization’s accountabilities necessary to demonstrate promised performance, 4) focusing on value creation more than distribution of surplus, and 5) highlighting that financial and social outcomes are equally legitimate. Implications for theory/practice are offered; leasehold indeed offers an open, autonomous, and accountable way to view corporate governance and CSR.


Corporate social responsibility Leasehold Corporate governance Agency theory Stakeholder theory 



We wish to thank our colleagues Aida Rodriguez (The New School), Sherrill Shaffer (University of Wyoming), Grant Lindstrom (University of Wyoming), and Duane Helleloid (University of North Dakota) for their comments and recommendations on earlier versions of this paper.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare they have no conflicts of interest.

Informed Consent

No primary data were collected for use in this investigation.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Milano School of Policy, Management and EnvironmentThe New SchoolWyomingUSA
  2. 2.Department of ManagementUniversity of North DakotaGrand ForksUSA

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