Will Corporate Social Responsibility be a game changer in future international business?

Saul Shelton


This conceptual paper examines how Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) can affect business behaviour, produce financial gains and its potential to be a game changer in future international business. By analysing the findings of academic and practitioner research publications on CSR, this paper explores whether it has a significant impact on organisational environments and financial performance, or is simply a tool employed for companies to appear ethically conformist. Comparing past and present CSR trends, whilst examining the practises of contemporary organisations, this study demonstrates how companies adapt to the norms and procedures required by CSR. Set within the framework of institutional theory, in particular New Institutional Sociology (DiMaggio and Powell, 1991 & Scott, 2001), the reasoning behind CSR investments and policies are investigated. The paper will explore how organisations, through mimetic, coercive and normative isomorphism, have changed their implementation of CSR. The conclusion of this study is in order for a company to reap the benefits of CSR; they must adopt structures and procedures advocated by similar organisations, taking account of the preferences of their stakeholders and adapting these to the businesss overall strategy. CSR has significantly changed over time and now provides a realistic opportunity for companies to benefit from their investments in this area, but to say that it will be a definite game changer in future business is an assumption rather than inevitability.

Key Words: Corporate Social Responsibility, Research, Organisations, Impact, Change, Isomorphism

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