Class VIII: Corporate Social Responsibility and Stakeholder Relations

Provided by Nora Lohmeyer, Radboud University

Guiding questions: What is the social responsibility of corporations? In which ways do corporations address their social responsibility? What is the role of shareholders versus stakeholders?



Core readings

Garriga, E., & Melé, D. (2004). Corporate social responsibility theories: Mapping the territory. Journal of Business Ethics, 53(1), 51-71. PDF

Freeman, R. E., Wicks, A. C., & Parmar, B. (2004). Stakeholder theory and “the corporate objective revisited”. Organization Science, 15(3), 364-369. PDF

Contemporary news article

Ofodile, U. E. (2022). The Friedman doctrine in a moral age: The implications of Western firms’ mass exodus from Russia after Ukraine. JURIST. Legal News & Commentary, March 11.

The Yale School of Management presents and updates information on company reactions to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, including information on the strategies companies take – ranging from complete withdrawal to continuation of ‘business as usual’.

Post-lecture assignment

Write two short memos (about 250 words each) answering the following questions:

  1. How can we understand decisions of Western firms suspending business in/with Russia from a shareholder compared to a stakeholder view of the firm? Outline arguments from each of the perspectives for such a decision.
  2. Based on your discussion, have business’ stakeholder (incl. shareholder) priorities been reconfigured in light of the current crisis and, if so, how? For instance, are we seeing a demise of the shareholder doctrine as some commentators have suggested?

Background readings

Banerjee, S. B. (2008). Corporate social responsibility: The good, the bad and the ugly. Critical Sociology, 34(1), 51-79. PDF

Barnett, M. L. (2019). The business case for corporate social responsibility: A critique and an indirect path forward. Business & Society, 58(1), 167-190. PDF

Campbell, J. (2007). Why would corporations behave in socially responsible ways? An institutional theory of corporate social responsibility. Academy of Management Review, 32(3), 946-967. PDF

Background video

In this Lecture 4 Future (in German), Elke Schüßler gives an introduction into the “business case” concept of CSR and its critique.