Title: Practicing the business of corporate social responsibility: a process perspective

Authors: Christa Thomsen, Jakob Lauring

Addresses: Centre for Corporate Communication, Department of Language and Business Communication, Aarhus School of Business, University of Aarhus, Fuglesangs Alle 4, DK-8210 Aarhus V, Denmark. ' Centre for Organizational Renewal and Evolution, Department of Management, Aarhus School of Business, University of Aarhus Fuglesangs Alle 4, DK-8210 Aarhus V, Denmark

Abstract: The practice of corporate social responsibility (CSR) has often been described as a balance of profitability and social or societal responsibility by scholars as well as practitioners. It is assumed that regulations and guidelines of CSR practices link competitiveness and responsibility together. While recognising that formal CSR statements represent a goal-oriented managerial approach to CSR, we argue based on the description of a qualitative case study that the relationship between profitability and social or societal responsibility is not as clear and simple as it is often described. Instead, CSR should be considered as a continuously negotiated process between companies and stakeholders. Hence, the creation of a constructive link between profitability and social or societal responsibility is dependent on the amount of effort that has been put into exploring the concerns of the stakeholders, vis-a-vis the company, while simultaneously accepting changes when they are necessary.

Keywords: corporate social responsibility; CSR; stakeholder relations; stakeholder dialogue; cross-sector partnerships; public-private partnerships; social partnerships; Denmark; profitability.

DOI: 10.1504/IJBGE.2008.019171

International Journal of Business Governance and Ethics, 2008 Vol.4 No.2, pp.117 - 131

Published online: 01 Jul 2008 *

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