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Corporate Responsibility 

Length: 2200 words (no leeway) using Times Roman 12 pt font and at least 2cm

margins on all sides. No additional leeway; penalties for over 2200

words apply.

Topic: Corporate Responsibility


Corporate Responsibility (or CSR) has gained unprecedented momentum in business and public debate and has become a strategic issue crossing discipline boundaries and affecting the way in which a company does

business. It has become so important that many organisations have rebranded their core values to include social responsibility. Almost all corporate websites, policies and reports present endeavours for CSR as a way of ensuring that the organisation is fulfilling all obligations towards society and thus is eligible for the license to operate. Increasingly, organisations refer to their CSR activities as honouring a quadruple bottom line: Profits, People, Planet, Philanthropy. These activities of CSR differ from organisation to organisation depending on the resources

available to an organisation for undertaking CSR practices. However, the practice of CSR is subject to much debate and criticism. Some proponents argue that there is a strong business case for CSR, in that corporations benefit in multiple ways by operating with a perspective broader and longer than their own immediate, short-term profits. Other proponents argue that honouring the quadruple bottom line is a moral minimum that organisations are obligated to uphold. Some speak about the purpose of business beyond profits. Critics argue that CSR distracts

from the fundamental economic role of businesses. Others argue that it is nothing more than superficial window-dressing; while others argue that it is an attempt to pre-empt the role of governments as a watchdog over

powerful multinational corporations. Using a wide array of refereed journal articles, current and classic, discuss and critically analyse the various perspectives on CSR outlined above and discussed in the academic literature. Illustrate your discussion and analysis with reference to what companies are doing in practice. In the conclusion to your essay, present your key findings or recommendations on the purpose and ethical / social obligations of business, and the essence of why you have reached those findings or recommendations. As a minimum your discussion and analysis should utilise between 20 and 25 refereed journal articles and include a mix of current (2000 – 2015) and some classic (e.g. Friedman, 1970; Simon, Powers & Gunnmann, 1972) articles. You may substitute 25-30% of the prescribed number of journals with textbooks. In addition (ie in addition to 20-25 refereed journals), the business literature and news articles can be used, especially to source CSR in practice. If you have a particular country interest (e.g. CSR in China, India, U.S.A or Europe) or discipline interest (eg CSR and HR or Marketing), you can

utilise journal articles that cover those areas of interest, but be sure to still focus on the assignment question as stated above. It is suggested that you start with your textbook and several other texts listed under recommended reading in this Companion to obtain a clear understanding of the relevant core concepts for CSR. You should then

proceed to read Milton Friedman’s 1970 article (in the text) and the brief excerpt from Simon, et al. (1972) available on e-reserve and Moodle. You should then search for relevant articles via the University’s Library

electronic database, articles available on e-reserve for this unit, articles listed in this Companion and material from your preferred search engine. When sourcing material electronically or in hard copy, you must not cut and paste into your essay. This is plagiarism and will result in a failed paper (a mark of zero). You are required to reference using the author / date method.

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