DIU Activities > CSR

Conceptualizing Corporate Social Responsibility


Md. Fouad Hossain Sarker:
The concept of CSR has had a long and diverse history in the literature (Carroll 1999). It came into a common use in the late 1960s and early 1970s as many multinational corporations were formed that time. In the beginning, it refers to the obligations of businessmen to pursue those policies, to make those decisions, or to follow those lines of actions which are desirable in terms of objectives and values of our society (Bowen 1953). After 1960s, the literature on CSR developed considerably and that time it defined as the new concept of social responsibility which recognizes the intimacy of the relationships between the corporation and the society, and realizes that such relationships must be kept in mind by the top managers as the corporation and the related groups pursue their respective goals (Walton 1967). In its broadest sense, corporate social responsibility represents a concern with the needs and goals of society which goes beyond the merely economic one. Recently corporate social responsibility movement represents a board concern with business’s role in supporting and improving the social order (Eells & Walton 1974). Social responsibility usually refers to the objectives or motives that should be given weight by the business in addition to those dealing with economic performance (e.g., profits). Backman (1975) identified CSR activities as: “employment of minority groups, reduction of pollution, greater participation in programs to improve the community, improved medical care, improved industrial health and safety-these and other programs designed to improve the quality of life are covered by the board umbrella of social responsibility” (Backman 1975).

In 1980 Thomas M. Jones entered the CRS discussion with an interesting perspective. He defined corporate social responsibility as “the notion that corporations have an obligation to constituent groups in society other then stockholders and beyond that prescribed by law and union contract” (Jones 1980). Two facts of this definition are crucial. First, the obligation must be voluntarily adopted; behavior influenced by the coercive forces of law or union contract is not voluntary. Secondly, the obligation is a broad one, extending beyond the traditional duty to shareholders to other societal groups such as customers, employees, suppliers, and neighboring communities.

Moreover, “corporate social responsibility relates primarily to achieving outcomes from organizational decisions concerning specific issues or problems which (by some normative standard) have beneficial rather than adverse affects on pertinent corporate stakeholders” (Epstein 1983: 104). The term stakeholder, meaning those on whom an organization's activities have an impact, was used to describe corporate owner beyond shareholders as a result of an influential book by R. Edward Freeman, Strategic management: a stakeholder approach in 1984 (Bansal & Roth 2000). Proponents argue that corporations make more long term profits by operating with a perspective, while critics argue that CSR distracts from the economic role of businesses. CSR activities so far are merely implemented for maintaining business policy without really fostering social and benevolent intentions and social responsibility (Fouad 2012). Others argue CSR is merely window-dressing, or an attempt to preempt the role of government as a watchdog over powerful multinational corporations. Some other studies have found out that anything imposed from the top on the organizations without any real commitment from inside often doomed to failure, as has been demonstrated in the microcredit programme of non-governmental organizations in Bangladesh (Saiful 2004; 2010).

Corporate social responsibility (CSR), which is also variably called as corporate conscience, corporate citizenship, social performance, or sustainable responsible business (Wood 1991), is a form of corporate self-regulation integrated into a business model. The goal of CSR is to embrace responsibility for the company's actions and encourage a positive impact through its activities on the environment, consumers, employees, communities, stakeholders and all other members of the public sphere. Furthermore, CSR-focused businesses would proactively promote the public interest by encouraging community growth and development, and voluntarily eliminating practices that harm the public sphere, regardless of legality. Finally, Corporate Social Responsibility is an effective way of functioning on particular issues relating to responsibility for looking after relations with all interested parties and working towards long-term sustainable development.

Md. Fouad Hossain Sarker:

Backman, J. (1975) Social responsibility and accountability. New York: New York University Press. Bangladesh Bank (2010) Review of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Initiatives in Banks 2008 & 2009. Dhaka: Bangladesh Bank.

Bansal, P. & Roth, R. (2000) Why Companies Go Green: A model of Ecological Responsiveness. The Academy of Management Journal, Vol. 43(4): 717–736.

Carroll, A. (1979) A three-dimensional conceptual model of corporate social performance. Academy of Management Review, Vol. 4 (4): 496-503.

Carroll, A. B. (1999) Corporate Social Responsibility. Business & Society, Vol-38(3): 268-295.

Eells, R. & Walton, C. (1974) Conceptual foundations of Business. Burr Ridge, IL: Irwin; 1974: 247.

Epstein, E.M. (1983) The corporate social policy process: Beyond business ethics, Corporate Social Responsibility, and Corporate Social Responsiveness. California Management Review, Vol. 29: 104-119.

Fouad Hossain Sarker M. ( 2012) Corporate Social Responsibility of Private Banks in Bangladesh: Expectations, Achievements and Challenges. Journal of Public Administration and Governance
Vol. 2 (1):178-187.

Jones, T. (1980) Corporate Social Responsibility revisited, redefined. California Management Review, Vol. 2: 59-60.

Saiful, Islam M. (2004) “Who Benefits, How Benefits”: The Political Economy of Grameen Bank‟s Microcredit Programme in Rural Bangladesh. Oriental Anthropologists, Vol. 4 (1):1-17.

Saiful, Islam M. (2010) Indigenous People, NGOs and the Politics of Alternative Development Discourse in Bangladesh. Dhaka University Journal of Development Studies, Vol. 1: 79-89.

Walton, C. C. (1967) Corporate Social Responsibilities. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Wood, D. (1991) Corporate Social Performance Revisited. The Academy of Management Review, Vol. 16(4): 691-718.

Masuma Parvin:
In textile-clothing CSR

Programs that include in textile-clothing CSR are: Social Responsibility (For Life), Social Accountability (SA) 8000, Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI), World-wide Responsible Apparel Production (WRAP), Fair Labor Association (FLA), Ethical Trade Initiative (ETI), Clean Cloth Campaign (CCC), Fair Wear Foundation (FWF), Occupational Health and Safety Advisory Services (OHSAS) 18000. Social Responsibility (SR) is one well know programs based on ILO conventions, ISEAL and SA.
Our textile-clothing industry is a hub of unskilled labors with no prior work experience, of rural origin and from poor families. Mostly female workers are employed in our textile-clothing industry. Despite the employment opportunities, those workers in suffer from abject poverty. It is a fact that workers are illiterate, lacking behind proper training, and skills. But utmost reality is that what they earn is very less than they deserve, and the most of their basic rights never offered, and overlooked by the authority in these industries. That could be one reason; owners of these so-called industries turn in rich and richer from the saved money. Bangladesh is one of the few countries in the world where it very much possible to become rich and richer in very short period, due to loopholes created by governments and industrialists themselves.

The present working conditions of the textile-clothing industry can be described as: long working hours, i.e., more than 12 hours a day, mandatory overtime and no weekend with less or no payment, no job security, i.e., when there is less pressure of orders, workers are sacked from the post; no maternity leave but in maternity cases, workers are forced to leave job. As authorities get informed about pregnancy of any female workers, they are warned and forced to leave job before taking leave for maternity


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