For all the talk about the importance of corporate social responsibility (CSR), the truth of the matter is most executives don’t believe it drives direct bottom line business benefit, or that it effectively addresses societal problems.
The authors of Connect: How Companies Succeed by Engaging Radically with Society interviewed 70 CEOs and found that they view CSR as commercially irrelevant, believing it focuses more on boosting employee morale than addressing the way a company engages with society’s concerns.
Harvard’s Michael Porter supports this perspective. He argues that business and its relationship to society has evolved, from philanthropy — where companies made money doing bad things, but then gave some of their earnings to good causes — to corporate social responsibility, where companies try to do fewer bad things by minimizing harm.
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