Can corporations contribute directly to society or only through regulated behaviour?

by Peter J. Buckley

31 Oct 2018
Journal of the British Academy
52 (pp. 323-374)

Abstract: This paper explores the mechanisms by which corporations can contribute to society. It examines the roles of regulation and the autonomous contributions of corporations. The roles of incentives to managers to ‘do good’ and of corporate culture to foster social responsibility are considered. The investigation finds that modern corporations are bound by a web of rules and signals that both constrain and support action towards social goals. These include not only formal regulation, but also signals from consumers, compliance with standards, employee expectations, supplier demands, and pressures from civil society. Rules and signals vary by place and time and corporate social responsibility practices must evolve with these pressures from stakeholders.

Keywords: Corporate strategy, corporate social responsibility (CSR), regulation, stakeholders, corporate culture.

Article posted to Journal of the British Academy, volume 6,
supplementary issue 1 (Reforming Business for the 21st Century).

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