Corporate Social Responsibility: The Role of Business in Sustainable Development, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Corporate Social Responsibility

The Role of Business in Sustainable Development, 1st Edition

By Oliver F. Williams


144 pages

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pub: 2013-11-12
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Over the last 30 years, corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become a household term, reflecting a combination of factors that we have come to associate with that most catch-all of terms "globalization," including the widespread popular concern with such social issues as the environment and international human rights.

Corporate Social Responsibility examines the history of the idea of business ethics (which goes back at least to ancient Mesopotamia) before exploring the state of CSR today. This book argues that a wide-ranging understanding of the purpose of business is necessary to create value for a community of stakeholders which in turn can generate a sustainable future. The book suggests that corporations still have a long way to go, but remains optimistic. The book’s sanguine interpretation of the current state of corporate affairs and a recommended way forward, results not only from the authors analysis, but also his direct experience. This book presents the case that we are in the midst of a major paradigm shift in our understanding of the purpose of business and that this new understanding holds much promise for business being a significant force for a more just and peaceful world.

This work provides a concise overview of CSR and an important examination of the present and future work of the UN Global Compact and will be of interest to students of international organizations, international business and corporate social responsibility.


"This well written, and easily accessible book on corporate social responsibility cuts through the mountain of literature to tackle the big issues. It is both intelligent and compassionate at the same time, coming from a wise and experienced man." - Dr Malcolm McIntosh FRSA

"[The book] is concise, well-documented, and convincing. The approach is non-theological (there are no explicit references to Catholic social teaching) but draws upon the conclusion of that literature. It would be an excellent resource in any course on contemporary business ethics." - Rev. Edward A. Malloy, C.S.C, President Emeritus, University of Notre Dame

"…by dipping into the book, you will discover that it is written skillfully and thoughtfully by one of the CSR field’s leading thinkers….you will also find a practical and attainable way to make corporate social responsibility an operational reality within an expanding array of for-profit corporations around the globe." - William C. Frederick, Professor Emeritus of Business Administration, Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business, University of Pittsburgh.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1. Corporate social responsibility: its history and development 2. The purpose of business: the basic issue 3. Stretching the limits of CSR: breaking the bounds of the market logic 4. Corporate social responsibility as an instrument of global governance: the UN Global Compact 5. Conclusion: moving from incremental progress toward transformational action in shaping an inclusive and sustainable economy

About the Author

Oliver Williams is a member of the faculty of the Mendoza School of Business at the University of Notre Dame and is the director of the Center for Ethics and Religious Values in Business.

Williams is the editor or author of 15 books as well as numerous articles on business ethics in journals such as the Harvard Business Review, California Management Review, Business Ethics Quarterly, the Journal of Business Ethics, Business Horizons and Theology Today. Recent books include Economic Imperatives and Ethical Values in Global Business: The South African Experience and Global Codes Today (co-authored with S. Prakash Sethi) and Peace Through Commerce: Responsible Corporate Citizenship and the UN Global Compact.

He served as associate provost of the University of Notre Dame from 1987-94 and is a past chair of the Social Issues Division of the Academy of Management. In 2006, he was appointed a member of the three-person Board of Directors at the United Nations Global Compact Foundation. The United Nations Global Compact is the world’s largest voluntary corporate citizenship initiative with over 7,000 businesses around the world as members.

About the Series

Global Institutions

The "Global Institutions Series" is edited by Thomas G. Weiss (The CUNY Graduate Center, New York, USA) and Rorden Wilkinson (University of Sussex, UK).

The Series has two "streams" identified by their covers:

  • Blue covers offer comprehensive, accessible, and informative guides to the history, structure, and activities of key international organizations, and introductions to topics of key importance in contemporary global governance. Recognized experts use a similar structure to address the general purpose and rationale for specific organizations along with historical developments, membership, structure, decision-making procedures, key functions, and an annotated bibliography and guide to electronic sources.
  • Red covers consist of research monographs and edited collections that advance knowledge about one aspect of global governance; they reflect a wide variety of intellectual orientations, theoretical persuasions, and methodological approaches.

Together these streams provide a coherent and complementary portrait of the problems, prospects, and possibilities confronting global institutions today.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / History & Theory
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General