CSR or RSC? (Beyond the Humpty Dumpty syndrome)

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Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has often been presented as a challenge for management. This is due to the fact that the CSR debate has been associated with the business practices that are linked to it. But CSR is also an approximation to the business practices that require us to question the underlying corporate business model. Therefore, as it deals with a company's business model, the term CSR at once reveals its potential and its limitations. The ambiguity of the term "social" and the risk of not combining this with the term "economic" is by no means less significant: neither is the diversity of interpretations and approaches allowed by the term "social". Using the words of the Lewis Carrol character, Humpty Dumpty, as a metaphor-according to which a word's meaning depends on the power of the person who uses it - the purpose of this paper is to propose a shift away from talking in terms of CSR (corporate social responsibility) to talking in terms of responsible and sustainable corporation (RSC). The intention is not to become bogged down with questions of semantics of terminology but, rather, to bring about a change in emphasis. The author intends this to be a means of considering a more relational vision of the company (in other words, a relational corporation), taking as the point of departure the company's relationships with stakeholders. The paper proposes an analysis of the stakeholder relationship which is not reduced to mere relationship management. Once these relationships have been established, it can be highlighted how, in each of them, the existence of economic, social and environmental dimensions can be investigated and, as a result, how these dimensions can be integrated into management. This means that the integration process should be translated into a vision of CSR (or, as is suggested, of RSC: responsible and sustainable corporation) at the same time as being a transversal management approach and an axis of corporate identity and of understanding the company as a project. The paper proposes a change of emphasis regarding the approach to CSR. The aim of the paper is to contribute towards preventing the CSR debate from becoming blocked by debate on the scope of the term "social". It should be put forward directly in terms of business strategy, in order for CSR not to be reduced to a set of business practices but for it to become part of the vision of the company, leading to the proposal of: responsible and sustainable corporation.
Idioma originalAnglès
Publicació especialitzadaSociety and Business Review
Estat de la publicacióPublicada - 1 d’oct. 2008


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