The field of Corporate Social Responsibility is described and the theory on it is critically reviewed. It is argued that present theory is insufficient in explaining the phenomenon of CSR and might fail to recognize some of its deeper significance. A new basis for the theoretical analysis of CSR is henceforth developed that aims at understanding CSR as a discourse on the relation of economy and society. It is shown that a foundation for such theory can be found in Max Weber's Economic Sociology and particularly in his modeling of ideal interests as the locus of discourse-driven changes in the relation between economy and society. It is concluded that analyzing CSR as a phenomenon of ideal interests allows for the modeling of its potential to reshape the prevailing form of capitalism and that such analysis could prove to be a starting point for the development of a distinctively sozialökonomische theory of action.
capitalism economy and society corporate social responsibility corporate social performance economic sociology economic history theory of action new institutionalism in economic sociology Max Weber protestant ethics social economics ideal interests