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Corporate social responsibility, inequality and corporate governance

Abell, Peter, Engel, Ofer and Wynn, Henry P. ORCID: 0000-0002-6448-1080 (2015) Corporate social responsibility, inequality and corporate governance. In: Fryzel, Barbara, (ed.) The True Value of CSR: Corporate Identity and Stakeholder Perceptions. Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, UK, pp. 163-174. ISBN 781137433183

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Identification Number: 10.1057/9781137433206.0019


The phrase corporate social responsibility (CSR) is almost invariably used to suggest that corporations should pay significant attention to the impact their activities have upon their physical and social environments, usually going beyond the requirements of the law and any competitive pressures. It is often believed that CSR serves as a bulwark against unethical practices, facilitating a culture that encourages exemplary policies and ethical corporate governance. But this belief does not always hold true. For example, shortly before ENRON’s fraudulent accounting practices came under public scrutiny, the company had numerous CSR programmes in place. It received environmental awards and was involved in policies to curb climate change, promote human rights and endorse anti-corruption measures. ENRON’s CEO participated in conferences on ethics and emphasized the values of ‘communication, respect and integrity’. Just before its bankruptcy, the company invested in various social mutual funds (Kelly, 2002).Given the frequency of various forms of corporate fraud in the modern world one might be excused the proposal that CSR might be extended to incorporate a fastidious compliance with fiduciary duty. The implication that CSR usually carries is that the residually remunerated corporate owners should collectively bear some financial costs, in pursuit of their self-imposed (extra-legal) responsibilities. As we shall see this is far from being an uncontroversial suggestion, but the idea explored here is that CSR, if defensible, should be extended to cover the income distribution within corporations. That is to say, the grounds upon which CSR can be defended should naturally be extended to concerns about intra-corporate income distributions.

Item Type: Book Section
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2015 The Authors
Divisions: LSE
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Date Deposited: 17 Aug 2015 14:35
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 01:19

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