Corporate social responsibility (CSR) as a nominal term clearly resonates with scholars and practitioners alike. As a scientific concept, however, it has often been criticized for its lack of definitional precision and poor measurement. In this paper we review and assess intensional and extensional definitions of the concept, as they have figured in the prior CSR literature. But we also go beyond these traditional review exercises by assessing the role (if any) of the concept in positive theorizing. The upshot of this analysis is that since the CSR concept adds nothing of value to existing frameworks in the field of management and organization, such as the economizing and legitimizing perspectives, it is best to discard it altogether.

Corporate Social Performance, Corporate Social Responsibility, Economizing, Extensional Definitions, Intensional Definitions, Legitimizing, Positive Theorizing
Multinational Firms; International Business (jel F23), Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting (jel M), Corporate Culture; Social Responsibility (jel M14)
Erasmus Research Institute of Management
hdl.handle.net/1765/7894
ERIM Report Series Research in Management
ERIM report series research in management Erasmus Research Institute of Management
Erasmus Research Institute of Management

van Oosterhout, J, & Heugens, P.P.M.A.R. (2006). Much Ado About Nothing: A conceptual critique of CSR (No. ERS-2006-040-ORG). ERIM report series research in management Erasmus Research Institute of Management. Erasmus Research Institute of Management. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/7894