Dilini Pathirana, IGLP Workshop alumni and member of the Faculty of Law at the University of Colombo in Sri Lanka, is pleased to share a research paper that will be presented at KLIBEL 2013 (Kuala Lumpur International Business, Economics and Law Conference. This paper has also been selected to be published in the International Journal of Business, Economics, and Law.

Abstract: 

The discourse on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) developed a groundbreaking idea that business corporations should be seen as socio-economic institutions which owed responsibilities towards the society in which they operate. This reformative notion has resulted in making capitalism more responsive in terms of environment and society excluding place excessive emphasis on maximizing profit and economic prosperity alone. Consequently, the identification of business corporations as mere economic instruments has become an obsolete phenomenon, while giving rise to the understanding that business corporations are corporate citizens who discharge responsibilities in terms of economy, environment and social and thereby also promote the sustainable development. Therefore, it is evident that the discourse on Corporate Social Responsibility has resulted in restructuring corporate activities particularly, including corporate purposes and preferences and the interaction between society and business corporation to a greater extent. Although the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility has resulted in formulating such a remarkable socio-economic modification, Corporate Social Responsibility has been frequently understood as a pure realm of voluntary action without sufficiently ascertaining its institutional value in the context of structuring the interaction between society and business corporations. While keeping this lacuna as the focal point, this paper challenges the contemporary understanding of Corporate Social Responsibility as a mere realm of voluntary action. Simultaneously, the paper highlights the significance of comprehending Corporate Social Responsibility as an institution which brings the public interest into the private domain of the corporation. Particularly, the paper presents the emerging frameworks for institutionalizing CSR on a global level, while examining the significance of adopting Corporate Social Responsibility measures in order to legitimate corporate activities. In the conclusion the paper highlights the importance of understanding Corporate Social Responsibility as an intuition as opposed to a mere realm of voluntary action in the context of structuring the interaction between the society and business corporations in a way which ensures the sustainable economic and social development.

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