CSR Definition

By John Dudovskiy
October 29, 2013

CSR Definition According to Horrigan (2010) there is no widespread definition of CSR due to the high levels of ambiguity and controversy associated with the topic.

It has to be noted that “virtually all definitions of CSR include the notion that business firms (i.e., corporations) have obligations toward society beyond their economic obligations to shareholders” (Schwartz, 2011, p.19)

Nevertheless, CSR definition that captures the main aspects of the term can be proposed as “corporate initiative to assess and take responsibility for the company’s effects on the environment and impact on social welfare” (Investopedia, 2013, online).

Additionally, the following definitions of CSR have been proposed by different authors:

  • “how companies manage the business processes to produce an overall positive impact on society” (Baker, 2004)
  • “continuing commitment by business to behave ethically and contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families, as well as of the local community and society at large” (World Business Council for Sustainable Development in Hopkins, 2007)
  • additional responsibilities of businesses to local and wider communities apart from its core responsibility of profit maximisation (Simpson and Taylor, 2013)


Baker, M. (2004) “Corporate Social Responsibility – What does it mean?” Available at: http://www.mallenbaker.net/csr/definition.php

Corporate Social Responsibility (2013) Investopedia, Available at: http://www.investopedia.com/terms/c/corp-social-responsibility.asp#axzz2A54oj5IY

Horrigan., B. (2010) Corporate Social Responsibility in the 21st Century: Debates, Models and Practices Across Government, Law and Business, Edward Elgar Publishing, Cheltenham, UK

Schwartz, M.S. (2011) “Corporate Social Responsibility: An Ethical Approach” Broadview Press, USA

Simpson, J. & Taylor, J.R. (2013) “Corporate Governance Ethics and CSR” Kogan Page