Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a new business regulation concept. It has become popular in the middle of the 20th century and has evolved into the primary management evaluation tool. Scientists coined many definitions of CSR, becoming gradually more interested in the concept. They also have identified an antipode of CSR, which is corporate social irresponsibility (CSI). Nowadays, understanding and practicing both concepts is essential for companies as reducing CSI and enhancing CSR is the key to a reputable and profitable business. Further investigation of CSR and CSI is needed to find new ways to manipulate them and predict changes within them.
CSR is expressed by the company’s practices that are beneficial to society and the company’s stakeholders. The work on the concept began in the early 1930s, which was extensively elaborated by Howard Bowen in the 1950s and popularized by social scientists like Archie B. Carrol in the 1970s (Popa & Salanță, 2014; Tengblad & Ohlsson, 2010). CSR largely depends on a particular society’s and stakeholders’ perception of ‘good’ and is affected by changes in the worldwide perspective. According to Tengblad and Ohlsson (2010), “the globalization of national business systems” has prompted CSR to become less communitarian and more individualistic at the turn of the century (p. 653). First, it means that the global community increasingly dictates CSR as large companies expand their businesses onto foreign markets. Second, these companies’ CSR reflects the expectations for the nation’s smaller companies.
Consequently, CSR is a company’s need and deeds to adhere to specific expectations of local and foreign (worldwide) communities and stakeholders. That is why companies often struggle to achieve “a balance between the economic, environmental and social imperatives” while being capable of making a profit (Popa & Salanță, 2014, p. 139). Additionally, as CSR has no unified direction, it is best understood compared to CSI.
Bad management, shady or unethical practices, and covering these practices with ‘good’ or unimportant ones is considered irresponsible. CSI is a company failing to meet the abovementioned expectations by doing something deemed unworthy or outright illegal. Illustrative examples are fraud, tax-avoiding, bribery, false advertisement, workplace violations such as poor safety, discrimination, etc. (Popa & Salanță, 2014). The list is endless as CSI, similarly to CSR, depends on external factors, namely laws, regulations, and public opinions. However, a company that effectively avoids ‘bad’ practices, implementing proactive strategies and sufficient managerial controls, is perceived as socially responsible.
In conclusion, businesses should minimize CSI and subsequently enhance their CSR because, lousy publicity aside, irresponsible acts may contribute to real global issues like warming, pollution, and economic inequality. Companies do not have the right to ignore their responsibilities to stakeholders. Such conduct only leads to further defiance, and adding to the short-term bottom line is not worth it. A recent example of a company disregarding its responsibilities is the video game developer CD Projekt RED. The company used its ‘good name’ to encourage consumers to preorder Cyberpunk 2077 in every possible way. Executives of the company hurried the game’s production, releasing an underdeveloped product with numerous technical issues and promised features missing. As a result, CD Projekt is accused of false advertisement and violations such as making people work overtime. One thing led to another, and the company’s stocks plummeted, the game was removed from one of the leading platforms, and investors filed a lawsuit against the company. CD Projekt RED managed to alleviate the damages, but its reputation is tarnished. CSI is never a good option if a business wishes to succeed long term.
Popa, M., & Salanță, I. (2014). Corporate social responsibility versus corporate social irresponsibility. Management & Marketing. Challenges for the Knowledge Society, 9(2), 137‐146. Web.
Tengblad, S., & Ohlsson, C. (2010). The framing of corporate social responsibility and the globalization of national business systems: A longitudinal case study. Journal of Business Ethics, 93(4), 653-669. Web.