Outcome: Corporate Social Responsibility

What you’ll learn to do: identify how organizations demonstrate social responsibility

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a phrase and a concept that didn’t come into existence until the 1960s. CSR policy functions as a self-regulatory mechanism whereby a business monitors and ensures its active compliance with the spirit of the law, ethical standards, and international norms. With some models, a firm’s implementation of CSR goes beyond compliance and engages in “actions that appear to further some social good, beyond the interests of the firm and that which is required by law.”[1][2] CSR aims to embrace responsibility for corporate actions and to encourage a positive impact on the environment and stakeholders including consumers, employees, investors, communities, and others.

Before reading about CSR, let’s look at an example of a company and its CEO that have become synonymous with corporate social responsibility.


The learning activities for this section include:

  • Reading: Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Self Check: Corporate Social Responsibility

Take time to review and reflect on this activity in order to improve your performance on the assessment for this section.

  1. McWilliams, Abagail; Siegel, Donald (2001). "Corporate social responsibility: A theory of the firm perspective". Academy of Management Review 26: 117–127.
  2. McWilliams, Abagail; Siegel, Donald; Wright, Patrick M. (March 2006). "Corporate Social Responsibility: International Perspectives" (PDF). Working Papers (0604). Troy, New York: Department of Economics, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.