As organizations the world over tune in to corporate social responsibility, there’s no time like the present to take a clear-eyed approach to this hotly debated topic and look toward an agenda for the future. This week in a five-part series on CSR, we bring you key articles that answer big questions: Is CSR good for business or not? In what ways does it impact individuals? How are the current shifts in strategy playing out? We begin with two studies that provide much-needed perspective on the state of the CSR literature.
Part One: What do we know about CSR?
Herman Aguinis of Indiana University and Ante Glavas of the University of Notre Dame published “What We Know and Don’t Know About Corporate Social Responsibility: A Review and Research Agenda” in the July 2012 issue of the Journal of Management. From the abstract:
The authors review the corporate social responsibility (CSR) literature based on 588 journal articles and 102 books and book chapters. They offer a multilevel and multidisciplinary theoretical framework that synthesizes and integrates the literature at the institutional, organizational, and individual levels of analysis. …The authors also provide specific suggestions regarding research design, measurement, and data-analytic approaches that will be instrumental in carrying out their proposed research agenda.
Aurélien Acquier of ESCP Europe, Jean-Pascal Gond of HEC Montréal, and Jean Pasquero of Université du Québec à Montréal published “Rediscovering Howard R. Bowen’s Legacy: The Unachieved Agenda and Continuing Relevance of Social Responsibilities of the Businessman” in the December 2011 issue of Business & Society. The abstract:
Many business and society scholars hail Howard R. Bowen as the founding father of the academic conception and study of corporate social responsibility (CSR). Yet little is known widely about his life and the true agenda of Social Responsibilities of the Businessman (Bowen), his landmark book. This article explores the historical and current significance of Bowen’s seminal work. The authors contend that the analytical perspective Bowen proposed nearly 60 years ago, although regrettably underappreciated in past decades, is more relevant than ever to stimulating future research on CSR and to revitalizing business and society scholarship.
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Up next in the series: Is CSR good for business?