LEADERSHIP AND CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY (CSR)
The modern-day debate on Corporate Social Responsibility raises various views, pitting scholars, business managers and the general public in different camps, each camp taking a stern stance and flexing muscle in an attempt to defend their perception of Corporate Social Responsibility. This, in my view, all courtesy of Milton Friedman’s controversial views on the subject matter (Friedman, The New York Times, September 13, 1970) . According to Milton Friedman, “…there is one and only one social responsibility of business, to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits so long as it stays in the rules of the game, which is, to engage in open and free competition, without deception or fraud.” Friedman therefore summarily dismisses business managers and directors from any involvement in socially responsible activities. Accordingly, we are faced with the daunting task of bringing together the two extremes, the self-interested actors of Friedman’s theory and the protagonists of the altruistic theory which views Corporate Social Responsibility as beneficial to society, close together to common ground. This paper will dwell on the latter position. This review will explore the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility in modern society. It will examine Corporate Social Responsibility from a multi-pronged view, considering the interests of the various stakeholders involved, and particularly how a solid base of leadership is core to the successful implementation of Corporate Social Responsibility in contemporary organizations. The paper will attempt to distinguish the two concepts of philanthropy and Corporate Social Responsibility, establish the need for Corporate Social Responsibility in both organizations and society, effects of organizational activity on the environment and society at large, the key principles of Corporate Social Responsibility, cost externalization, stakeholders and the social contract. It will further look at the relationship between globalization and Corporate Social Responsibility, the link between corporate strategy and Corporate Social Responsibility, and conclude with the benefits as well as the downsides of Corporate Social Responsibility to the various stakeholders.