CSR with Focus on the Employee Perspective

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1 Introduction

This first chapter aims to present our subject in focus; Corporate Social Responsibility. The

background is followed by a problem discussion, which in turn will lead us to the purpose of this

study. The purpose is broken down into three research questions. Thereafter the scope of the

thesis and central concept are described, and finally a disposition is presented.

1.1 Background

"CSR is like motherhood and apple pie. Everybody is for it; who wants to make the case for

companies becoming more unjust, unfair and irresponsible?" (Hutton, 2000:2).

Traditionally the main purpose of business has been to achieve profitability by

providing consumers with goods and services. In 1776, Adam Smith published

"The Wealth of Nations" and observed that people enjoy their daily bread not

thanks to the benevolence of their baker, but to the baker's selfish pursuit of

making profit. His economic theory of 'the invisible hand' states that the

aggregated behaviour of people serves the public good better than any social

planner could ever do (Henderson, 2002).

Today, however, the question of whether companies should shoulder a greater

social responsibility is widely debated and there is a widespread support for the

concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in the business world.

According to the concept of CSR, a company should focus on other values than

profitability and efficiency and therefore take greater responsibility for the

societal and environmental consequences of their activities. Hence, a company's

license to operate and grow is no longer seen exclusively in terms of maximising

profits (Kaptein & Van Tulder, 2003). Embedding an organisation in society - in

a sustainable manner - has become a condition for continuity and growth.

Companies establish CSR as part of their mission and core values in response to

emerging issues from within the organisation while other...