Academic journal article European Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies

CSR Integration into the Financial Economy: A Conceptual Approach

Academic journal article European Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies

CSR Integration into the Financial Economy: A Conceptual Approach

Article excerpt

1.Introduction

In order to provide a structured basis for the CSR reporting process in the financial sector, this paper will clarify the main directions of the CSR theories, integrating a three-level design which starts from the assumption that the most important theories in this field are related to: (1) the ethical approach, in which the organisation is seen as an ethical construct that is connected with the codes of ethics and the bank's main values, (2) the stakeholder approach, which is focused on identifying the representative stakeholders and assuming the broader responsibilities according to them and (3) the corporate governance approach, involving the banking decisional process and the CSR strategic management. These conceptual variations of the CSR theories based on the dominant feature will enhance the CSR reporting framework, considering that every CSR disclosure mechanism must integrate these three approaches attached to the CSR theoretical background.

The first part of the paper will strengthen the lack of consensus in the CSR theories, identifying three main approaches in theorizing the CSR concept. Thus, the CSR literature converge on the link between the ethics - the stakeholder's perceptions - the corporate governance issues in the CSR definition, suggesting a practical response in terms of legitimacy. The main arguments of this classification are supporting on the most known theories which bring to light a common comprehensive framework in the CSR theoretical insight, ready to be put into practice through the CSR outcomes in the reporting process. The second section of the literature review will create the premises for the proper development of these categories, presenting the CSR core elements in various theories, establishing in the same time a link with the CSR reporting process. In order to contribute to a CSR reporting model based on the CSR approaches extracted form the theoretical construct, the final part will be rooted in the conceptual transition from the broader CSR concept to the particular Romanian banking system.

At the present time, the corporate social responsibility (CSR) approach suffers various changes in interpretation, integrating a multidimensional perspective in the theorizing approach. Starting from the actual CSR literature that emphasize the global attempt to create a coherent CSR framework, it was found that it can be rather included in a special category of theoretical constructs, being considered a disputable concept (Whitehouse, 2003; McWilliams et al., 2006). The dynamism of the concept is highlighted by the variety of CSR development assumptions, which are multiplied by the mosaic of definitions and theories, suggesting "the inherent weakness of the concept" (Argandoña and von Weltzien Hoivik, 2009, p. 221). Some international organizations have tried to provide a relevant definition for CSR, describing a complex and dynamic concept whereby corporations includes non-financial responsibilities in their operational process. This valuable approach is based on the voluntary CSR character and facilitates the connection between corporations and society in order to generate an increased social welfare.

Relying on the ECC theory ("the essentially contested concepts theory"") formulated by Gallie (1956), Okoye identified the major issues that the CSR has faced. Thus, the lack of agreement in the CSR definition, the disputes around the concept and the failure in CSR standardization lead to the evidence that "CSR adequately corresponds with Gallie 's criteria for ECC" (Okoye, 2009, p. 624). Corporate social responsibility is seen as an evolving concept, whose premises demonstrate a sectoral network of companies that use the CSR as a significant tool in order to maintain a high position on the market. The multiple variations in the definition have plunged from "corporate social performance" (Wartick and Cochran, 1985) to "corporate sustainability" (Van Marrewijk, 2003) or "corporate accountability" (Bendell, 2004, p. …

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