Corporate Social Responsibility: Does Motivation Matter? Does it Matter Whether a Corporation’s Participation in CSR is an Exercise in Window-Dressing or Genuine CSR in Action?

100 Pages Posted: 29 Jul 2010  

Georgina Asmah

University of Warwick - School of Law

Date Written: September 2, 2009

Abstract

This research thesis seeks to find a solution to the question: does the motivation or reason behind a corporation’s socially responsible behaviour matter, provided that they are behaving in a socially responsible manner? Does it make a difference what the factors that are motivating a company are, be it self-interest to profit-maximise or an altruist intention to do good, as long as the company is partaking in CSR. Using Milton Friedman’s as the basic premise, Chapter 1 discusses the classic economic notion that the “business of business is business” and the issue of the separation of ownership and control within the corporation and how it has resulted in a responsibility gap. Chapter 2 address the question of whether a corporate conscience does indeed exist and if so, the context within which it does, and finally how it interacts with legal regulation, particularly, the Companies Act 2006. Chapter 3 discusses the universality of ethics and the role of ethics within corporate legal philosophy, with particular reference to the role of motivation. In Chapter 4, three case studies of corporate social responsibility are evaluated within the context of the theories previously discussed. The cases examined are Cadbury’s Cocoa Partnership for Ghana, Heineken’s HIV-AIDS policy and Unilever’s Dove Campaign for Real Beauty. These case studies bring to light a convergence of motives. It is concluded that genuine ethical motivation matters with regard to the determination and improvement of the moral quality of the particular corporation’s CSR activities. Recommendations for further study are made.

Keywords: Corporate Social Responsibility, motivation

Suggested Citation

Asmah, Georgina, Corporate Social Responsibility: Does Motivation Matter? Does it Matter Whether a Corporation’s Participation in CSR is an Exercise in Window-Dressing or Genuine CSR in Action? (September 2, 2009). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1553181 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1553181

Georgina Asmah (Contact Author)

University of Warwick - School of Law ( email )

Gibbet Hill Road
Coventry CV4 7AL, CV4 7AL
United Kingdom

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