When we talk about corporate social

responsibility, we don’t see it as something we

do to society, it is inherent in everything we do.

Niall FitzGerald, 2003 

Contemporary society expects corporations to be more socially responsible. The notion that a corporation is an economic institution engaged in the production of goods and services with the end-in-view of maximizing shareholder value has been de-emphasized, if not persistently challenged. The prevailing view holds that, as a central part of modern society, corporations are economic institutions with ethical responsibilities to society. The modern corporation is not only concerned about its economic performance and its fiduciary duty to its owners, it is equally concerned with the well being of its employees, the welfare of the community, the health of the environment and many other societal concerns.

If we feel uncomfortable with this idea, it is for the reason that we continue to hold a deep belief in the conventional concept of the corporation which suggests that its raison d’être is purely economic and that the corporation will avoid, where possible, social benefit issues. Revealing some kind of tension between the economic and social categories, the conventional view further holds that business ought to be methodologically differentiated from the other societal institutions engaged in equity concerns and the distribution of social benefits.

The contemporary view holds that social responsibility is integral to the wealth creation process of business. As opposed to differentiation in the former, it presupposes functional unity in that, along with improving economic performance, the modern corporation is also concerned with improving quality of life.

You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.