Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR): Characteristics, Complexities and Dimensions

What is Corporate Social Responsibility?

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) refers to the ultimate responsibility of an organization by the stakeholders and the employees. It is the sense of responsibility to better the community or environment that surrounds them. CSR is also a way of expressing the company’s citizenship through their efforts towards the community.

Characteristics of Corporate Social Responsibility

CSR has several characteristics:

  • One is the aspect of conducting business in an ethical way in the interests of the community.
  • Two, is ability to respond to a society’s expectations as well as emerging priorities.
  • Three is the willingness to act in accordance to regulatory authorities.
  • Corporate social responsibility also entails good citizenship to the society.
  • Lastly is the ability to balance its shareholders’ interests against those of the larger society.

Complexities of Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate Social Responsibility has several complexities.

One of the complexities is what it entails to have good corporate citizenship. This is in form of ethical considerations, the moral or ethical responsibility.

The issue of social consensus is also complex. Social consensus refers to the degree of the agreement on whether an action is ethical or unethical which is usually dependent on a community’s values and norms. The difference in ethical consideration comes about due to different education background, exposure and social backgrounds. If all people in a society belonged to the same population and are rational, then the perceptions of morality would be the same and the complexities of ethical considerations would not arise.

Moreover, the issue of business ethics and social responsibility overlap each other. This is because firms that are socially responsible firms act ethically. They are both concerns with objectives decisions and values that are based on something than the pursuit of profits.

Dimensions of Corporate Social Responsibility

There are four dimensions of corporate and social responsibility.

  • First is the economic responsibility which is aimed at earning profits for the investors.
  • Second is the legal responsibility which requires a firm to comply with the law and societal values and norms (Kotler and Lee 2005: 37).
  • Ethical responsibility is third, which calls for a firm not to just act for profit but do what is fair, right and just.
  • Lastly is the voluntary and philanthropic responsibility which aims at improving the human welfare, being a good citizen and improve the quality of life of the community within which it operates.

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