Academic journal article Journal of International Business Ethics

Reasoning and Differences between CSR Theory and Practice in China, the United States and Europe

Academic journal article Journal of International Business Ethics

Reasoning and Differences between CSR Theory and Practice in China, the United States and Europe

Article excerpt


Efforts to integrate ethics and management have a long history. At the beginning of the 20th century, the emergence of modem companies in Western countries and the failure of free economy made economists examine the operations of enterprises from ethics point of view, and they made an early exploration towards the way of increasing the welfare of employees and investing into public works constructions. The application of ethics in business has gradually developed into business ethics (also called management ethics, enterprise ethics and economic ethics). During the development of business ethics, CSR became one of its important branches. CSR first came into being in Western countries, raised in 1916 by J. Maurice Clark, an American scholar who pointed out that people had not realized CSR is the most important part of social responsibility (Clark, p. 229) In 1923, Oliver Sheldon from England came up with the concept of CSR and illustrated it in The Philosophy of Management, published in 1924. From the 1950s, CSR gradually became the hot topic of economics, management, and ethics in Western countries. In China, it is in recent years that CSR became a research proposition and a hot topic that is being discussed in commercial and theoretical circles. A series of accidents caused by bad operations led the public to think deeply about CSR in China. Chinese corporations began to think highly of CSR and started inculcating it into the practice of strategic decisions.

Regardless of the differences in economy, education, culture, and environment, ethics, which are the basis for social and economic development, share some similarities. Hence, we can say that theoretical and practical development of CSR was a continuous process in which it was spread from the west to the east, from developed countries to developing countries, and during which it assimilates all sorts of philosophy, thoughts, theories, and opinions from different cultures, different countries, and different enterprises.

The development of CSR in theory and practice obviously showed two obvious features. First, it lasts for a long time. After one hundred years of development, it still maintains its vigor. Second, it has a very wide scope and is popular all over the world. In the development of CSR, the acceleration of the globalization of the world economy and the development of transnational companies had facilitated the spread of CSR. As a concept or as a kind of operating strategy, CSR got popular support worldwide. As CSR differs from the fields of history, culture, economics, social systems, and development stages, different fields carried out different ways to promote their research and practice of CSR. Thus, there are obvious differences among them. These differences will surely influence the direction of its future development. It is of great importance to realize these differences and their causes for further research and application of CSR in enterprises. Especially for a developing country like China, it is of great importance to lead the enterprises to realize sustainable development and to shoulder their social responsibilities, as well as developing quickly.

As typical representatives of Eastern and Western countries, China and Europe differ greatly in the development of CSR. Will the stages of socioeconomic development, levels of social culture, art, history or even natural environment affect the development of CSR? What factors are strongly associated with the development of CSR? What are the differences in detail? What are the reasons for these differences? Literature reviews show that little research has been done to classify these questions systematically. This paper will make a systematic conclusion of the differences of the research aspects of CSR among China, the United States, and Europe and, also, the reasons for these differences in order to help relevant researches.

Analysis on the Differences in Research and Practice of CSR Among China, the United States, and Europe

Comparison on the Origin and the Development of CSR Theory

Comparison on the Origin of CSR Theory. …

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