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Discussion Papers No. 22/2012
Universität Witten/Herdecke, Fakultät für Wirtschaftswissenschaft, Witten
Answering the call for a new theoretical approach to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), this paper makes a suggestion from a Weberian perspective. It briefly appraises the existing research on CSR and develops key points of a new approach based on their criticism. Suggesting that CSR is a discourse about the role of the economy in society, it discusses whether a suitable new approach for the analysis of CSR can be found outside of economics and business ethics. It is argued that Max Weber's economic sociology and particularly his concept of ideal interests offer an appropriate framework. This framework is developed from Weber's theoretical writings and demonstrated to be used by him to analyze processes of change in the role of the economy in society. The paper then outlines how an analysis of CSR could be carried out building on an ideal interests-framework. It is suggested that such research would significantly advance the understanding of central, yet under-researched elements of CSR. Finally, I argue that the proposed research has the potential of contributing insights to action theoretical questions of modern economic sociology.
Corporate Social Responsibility
economic sociology
role of the economy in society
Max Weber
protestant ethic
ideal interests
theory of action
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Working Paper

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