Corporate Social Responsibility in the Digital Age

Corporate Social Responsibility in the Digital Age

Anitha Acharya
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3201-0.ch015
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This chapter is about corporate social responsibility. Corporate social responsibility is defined as the actions and decisions taken for reasons at least partly away from the company's direct technical or economic interest. This chapter highlights the definition of corporate social responsibility, the objectives of corporate social responsibility, the benefits of corporate social responsibility, and the limitations of corporate social responsibility. The chapter concludes with some of the best practices.
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The ways companies interact with individuals have changed dramatically due to web based social media. At present companies are entering into virtual corporate social responsibility (hereafter CSR) dialogs where technologies like social media are used to ensure that the stakeholders can design and instrument CSR activities with the company. The main objective of firms’ CSR efforts is to ensure that their reputation is maintained through well documented communicative practices (Aguinis & Glavas, 2012; Servaes & Tamayo, 2013). Social media is used by companies as a source of information dissemination since it takes less time to reach a greater audience with minimum cost. According to Cowen (2012) social media is being used by companies to communicate their messages and to establish a strong relationship with the various stakeholders, by doing that it helps companies to develop a competitive advantage in today’s digital age. A survey conducted by SMI-Wizness Social Media Sustainability Index 2011, the results revealed that more than 287 prominent companies are using social media to communicate their messages and majority of the companies have their own blog, youtube channel that is committed to sustainability (Tetrevova, Patak & Kyrylenko, 2019; Du, Bhattacharya & Sen, 2010).

During the last two decades concerns about corporate social responsibility (CSR) have grown significantly. CSR is a circumstance where firm goes beyond compliance and engages in act that benefits the society (Cortado & Chalmeta, 2016; Lee, Oh, & Kim, 2013). The government officially recognized that the environment, employees, and consumers as official stakeholders of national public policy. Accordingly, company executives had to fulfill their obligations and their commitments to an expanding group demanding both legal and ethical rights (Porter & Kramer, 2006; McWilliams & Siegel, 2001).

Media, Activists, and the Governments have become expert at making companies liable for their activities which has social consequences (Kesavan, Bernacchi, & Mascarenhas, 2013; Boyd, McGarry & Clarke, 2016). The rankings given by rating agencies on the performance of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) on the methodologies adopted by them are often questioned. Hence business leaders across each country are giving CSR a top priority (McWilliams, Siegel, & Wright, 2006; Cochran & Wood, 1984; Jamali, & Neville, 2011). Some companies have already taken a lot of precautions to improve the environmental and social consequences of their activities, even then their efforts have not fetched them much results because of two reasons. First, the business is pit against the society even though they are interdependent. Secondly, they force companies to think about CSR in accordance with their firm strategies. The current path to CSR are very disconnected and fragmented from strategy and business as to ambiguous many of the greatest opportunities for companies to benefit society (Carroll, 1999; McGuire, Sundgren, & Schneeweis, 1988). If companies evaluate their prospects for social responsibility using the same frameworks that guide their core business choices, they would act as a source of competitive advantage (Matten, & Moon, 2008; Carroll & Shabana, 2010; Lee, 2008; Rahman, Castka, & Love, 2019).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Profits: Financial gain.

Ethics: Right principles that govern a person's behavior.

Greenwashing: Is the practice of making misleading claim about the environmental benefits of a product or service.

Corporate Social Responsibility: How companies handle their business processes to ensure a positive impact on society.

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