Corporate Social Responsibility and Dehumanization

  • Gareth CrazeEmail author
Part of the Advances in Neuroethics book series (AIN)


Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is broadly held up as a crucial component of contemporary business practice. It is defined according to the notion that organizations ought, where possible, to voluntarily recognize and practically mitigate or minimize the socio-environmental impacts of their business activities and that in doing so they will meet the expectations of stakeholders affected by their practices. In spite of this, CSR initiatives are generally attached to the proposition that corporations primarily exist to fulfill their own performance objectives and to satisfy organizational benchmarks, with the additional implication that these aspirations will ultimately take precedence over wider macro-social considerations. The following chapter submits that this conception of CSR reflects the underlying neurological tension between the opposing domains of analytic reasoning and empathic or socioemotional reasoning. Using the opposing domains hypothesis, I propose that current conceptualizations and practices of CSR are antithetical to social and ethical reasoning with respect to neural function and can in turn increase the scope for dehumanization below the threshold of conscious awareness. This in turn calls the ethical dimensions of CSR into question.


Corporate social responsibility Neuroethics Opposing domains Empathy Empathic concern Dehumanization 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Organizational Behavior, Coaching Research Lab, Brain, Mind and Consciousness LaboratoryCase Western Reserve UniversityClevelandUSA

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