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Author(s): G.K. Deshmukh, Sanskrity Joseph, Asha Sahu

Email(s): Email ID Not Available

Address: Assistant Professor 1, 2, Research Scholar 3
Institute of Management, Pt. Ravishankar Shukla University, Raipur (C.G.).

Published In:   Volume - 25,      Issue - 1,     Year - 2019

Cite this article:
Deshmukh, Joseph and Sahu (2019). Corporate Social Responsibility: Insights from Literature Review. Journal of Ravishankar University (Part-A: SOCIAL-SCIENCE), 25(1), pp.26-35.

Corporate Social Responsibility: Insights from Literature Review

Dr. G.K. Deshmukh1, Dr. Sanskrity Joseph2 and Asha Sahu3

Assistant Professor 1, 2, Research Scholar 3

Institute of Management, Pt. Ravishankar Shukla University, Raipur (C.G.)


Corporate social Responsibility has become a buzz word in recent times. Its worldwide acceptance due to the social consciousness of enterprises coupled with legal orientation in developing countries like India has made it one of the most researched issue for researchers across continents.  This paper is an attempt to review the development in the core concepts and theories which have been put forwarded by different researchers during the time period of 2010-2018. The paper undergoes a time series analysis for the selected period evaluating the evolution and impact assessment of CSR on core managerial concepts like marketing, finance and Human Resource management. The researchers after time series analysis have concluded that CSR is age long practice which has changed its orientation with the changes in objectives of business. It can be easily classified in three conceptual eras on the basis of its objectives. In the initial era it was a self-driven practice mainly influenced by the values of promoters of business. In the later stages it can be related with a business strategy of gaining goodwill. In the present era corporates have understood the value of societal obligation and it has again become a self-driven exercise. Further the impact of CSR has coupled with almost all functions of management which can be easily understood from the host of studies conducted during the selected period. The selected studies indicate that CSR has been instrumental in increasing net worth, customer satisfaction and employee retention.

Keywords: Corporate Social Responsibility, discretionary practices, philanthropy, sustainable development (SD) 


According to Hill et al. (2007) “Corporate social responsibility is the economic, legal, moral benevolent actions taken by the firms to improve the living standards of all its stakeholders.”   The concept of corporate social responsibility has become an instrumental tool in developing corporate mind-set and practices for sustainable development. The societal renaissance of business enterprises which was earlier evident in small glimpses have now become the centre and front runner of almost every activity. Corporate social responsibility coupled with corporate consciousness of their social obligations is bringing about wide spread changes in the ways and means the enterprise conduct the affairs of business.  Caroll (2015) indicated that CSR is an age old practise which came into existence after the World War II when the industries contributed actively in saving the world economy from the great depression by increasing production and generating employment. Therefore the practice of CSR by enterprises has spanned over a century and has undergone sea changers with respect to conceptual development and implementation. The wide time span has given a host of definition to corporate social responsibility. Therefore the researchers over the years have used various constructs to define the practice of CSR. Various researchers like Silberhorn and Warren (2007) and Weber (2008) have openly cited that it is very difficult to describe the concept of CSR as the objectives of corporates practising CSR has changed over the years which ultimately changed the conceptual definition. The researchers have made an attempt to analyse the various constructs used by researchers over the years to define the concept of CSR. Table 1.1 presents a snapshot of various constructs used by researchers to define CSR over various decades beginning from 1950. 


Table 1.1 Construct of CSR


Constructs Used by Researchers



Social responsibility- Obligatory policies desirable by society

Bowen (1953)

Selekman’s (1959)

Eells’ (1956)



Managerial context of CSR – long run economic gain of business

Davis (1960)

Compete socio-economic welfare  of society

Frederick (1960)

CSR as extension of economic and legal obligation

McGuire (1963)

Social system approach of CSR

Davis & Blomstrom (1966)

Ethical consequences of one’s Act

Davis (1967)

Liaison of corporation & society  & CSR as a continuum ranging from minimum responsibility to maximum responsibility

Walton (1967)

Three concentric circles definition of social responsibility:

Committee for Economic Development (CED) (1971)


“Multiplicity of Interests”

“Long run profit maximization”

“Utility maximization”

“Lexicographic view of social responsibility.”

Johnson (1971)

broader responsibilities to society

CED (1971)

social interest and the enlightened self-interest of business over the long run

Steiner (1971)

Stressed on 3 basic elements of CSR: (i)Objective setting, (ii)Decision to act, (iii) financing

Manne & Wallich (1972)

Social benefits along with the traditional economic gains

Davis (1973)

Active role in eliminating social problems

Eilbert & Parket (1973)

Distinguished “social obligation,” “social responsibility,” and “social responsiveness.”

Sethi (1975)

Agency Theory

Jensen and Meckling (1976)

Public responsibility

Preston and Post (1975)

problem-solving perspective on CSR

Fitch (1976)

four-dimensional CSR concept corporate social performance (CSP) the economic, legal, ethical, and discretionary expectations of society.

Carroll (1977)

“social responsibility disclosures,”

Abbott and Monsen (1979)

a “fit” between the two components of a “business ethic” and societal expectations of the private economic sector

Zenisek (1979)

Serving groups beyond stockholders without social obligations

Jones (1980)


“legal-responsible” cell as CSR strategy

Dalton and Cosier (1982)

Organization-environment model

Strand (1983)

Stakeholder Theory

Freeman (1984)

Conversion of social responsibilities into business opportunities.

Drucker (1984)

Definitional construct of CSR

Aupperle, Carroll, and Hatfield (1985)

“evolution of the corporate social performance model,”

Wartick & Cochran (1985)

“Corporate social policy process.”

Epstein (1987)



Corporate citizenship.”

Wood (1991)

Stakeholder Theory “fit” with CSR.

Pyramid Model of CSR

Carroll (1991)

Stewardship Theory

Davis et al. (1997)

Triple Bottom Line

Elkington (1998)


positive correlation between an enterprises CSR actions and its competitiveness

Porter and Kramer (2011)

Resource-Based View

Chan et al. (2005); McWilliams et al. (2002)

Stakeholder Theory (descriptive)

Gilbert and Rasche (2008); Reed (2002)

Social Contract Theory

Cragg (2000); Dunfee (2006); Sacconi (2006)

Legitimacy Theory

Blasio (2007); Cashore et al. (2003)

business-integrated approach

Doane, (2005)

CSR as strategic and managerial tool

De Bakker et al. (2005)

Five dimensional study of CSR

Dahlsrud (2008)

2010- onwards


DNA of CSR 2.0 Model

Visser et al.  (2010)

A Practitioner-Based Model of Societal Responsibilities

Pedersen (2010)

Value Creation Model of CSR

Gholami (2011)

The Model of Consumer Driven Corporate Responsibility

Claydon (2011)

Institutional Theory

Detomasi (2007); Kang & Moon (2012); Ungericht & Hirt (2010)

     Source: Prepared by authors

Table 1.1 indicates that the concept of CSR can be largely divided in three era. In the initial era it was a self-driven practice mainly influenced by the values of promoters of business. In the later stages it can be related with a business strategy of gaining goodwill. In the present era corporates have understood the value of societal obligation and it has again become a self-driven exercise for sustainable development.

In the present scenario the concepts of honesty, transparency, sustainable development, corporate governance, accountability, ethics etc were propounded by National Voluntary Guidelines on CSR (2011) under the ministry of corporate affairs, Government of India define the very scope and nature of CSR. CSR is a sense of ‘Returning back to society ‘as the business enterprise is also an integral part of society. No business house can operate as an island as it will require stakeholder to keep it in the operational stage. Therefore it becomes the responsibility of the business towards its stakeholders to evolve practices which can help them in contributing towards the higher goals of sustainable development of society.  Sustainable development is an integrated approach towards the growth and development of society, environmental protection, concern towards consumers and safeguarding the human rights. Elkington, (1998) used the triple bottom line approach of sustainable development namely economic, social and environmental wellbeing to discuss the approach that CSR should take in future to contribute towards society.

            The World Bank Council for Sustainable Development (2002) defines CSR as “the persistent allegiance by business to act in an ethical manner and conducive to economic development by improving the quality of life of the employee’s family and overall society.” Tthe definition in recent era by researchers openly discusses the reasons and scope of CSR with respect to policy and practise. McWilliams and Siegel, (2001) defined CSR as “legal actions that leads to social wellbeing apart from the profitability of the firm. Further Carroll (1979) and (1990) highlights the scope of CSR by defining CSR as “The social responsibility of business comprises of economic, legal, ethical, and discretionary (philanthropic) prospects of society”

           Similarly Kotler and Lee, (2005); Perrini, (2005) identified the broad categories where the practices of CSR are generally directed in present times. They identified seven broad categories which includes:  (1) cause promotion (increasing awareness and concern for social causes); (2) cause-related marketing (contributing to causes based on sales);  (3) corporate social marketing (behaviour change initiatives); (4) corporate philanthropy (contributing directly to causes); (5) community volunteering (employees donating time and talents in the community); and (6) socially responsible business practices (discretionary practices and investment to support causes). Further Madison (2017) in a blog has summated functions of CSR by identifying the key areas in which the business houses are making active investments under the banner of CSR. The major activities carried out by enterprises includes following:

 Responsible sourcing of materials and supplies

  • Employee, vendor, customer and community engagement and relations
  • Adherence to labour standards
  • Environmental protection and management
  • Anti-corruption measures
  • Upholding social equity, gender equity and other human rights goals
  • Conservation of resources, like water and energy, in production

          In short CSR can be envisaged as balance between business and society and the extension of firms responsibilities beyond the self-motive & compatibility with law (Carroll, 1979; Jones, 1980; McWilliams & Siegel, 2001; see also Davis, 1973). Further the scope of an evolving concept can be understood by its amalgamation and summation with existing practices of management function. The concept of CSR was philanthropic in nature during its inception. The further elaboration of the concept intermingled with self-consciousness of business houses where they fulfilled their societal obligations for developing corporate goodwill.  In recent times the concept of CSR has undertaken its conceptual development by becoming a necessity for business houses due to constant pressure of stakeholders for fulfilling corporate responsibility. Genesis of CSR has revealed that with the time being passed corporations have shifted themselves from the involuntary actions of CSR towards voluntary actions. Corporations have realised the positive effects of the social responsibility at large and in long run. Many big giants have been engaged in CSR activities to reap long term benefits of CSR. During the period of 2010-2018, many research studies have been conducted in different spheres of globe and have concluded that social practices positively affects the business functions. Table 1.2 makes an attempt to understand dimensions used by researchers across functional areas between the periods of 2010- 2018 in relation to studies conducted in field of CSR.

Table1.2 Dimensions related to Researches conducted in fields of CSR between the periods of 2010-2018


Sr. No.












Researcher’s Conclusion


Research Insight










Cost Of Equity Financing


El-Ghoul et al. (2011)


Socially responsible practices have higher valuation and lower risk.

"sin” industries, namely, tobacco and nuclear power, increases firms’ cost of equity.

Role of customer awareness

Servaes and Tamayo (2013)

CSR activities can

enhance firm value for firms with high public awareness

CSR activities can add value to the firm but only under certain conditions.


Du et al. (2010)

CSR communication build corporate image, strengthen stakeholder–company relationships, and enhance stakeholders’

advocacy behaviours.

Corporate social responsibility communication can have a backlash effect if stakeholders

become suspicious and  perceive predominantly

extrinsic motives in companies’ social initiatives

Equity market

Ioannou &

Serafeim (2010)

CSR strengths are

perceived as value-creating, reversing the earlier negative into a positive impact on

recommendations: analysts are more likely to recommend a stock “buy” for CSR-strong firms

positive CSR strategies are more likely to be perceived as value-creating for

higher visibility firms










Capital constraints



Cheng et al. (2014)

Better CSR performance face significantly lower capital constraints.

better stakeholder

engagement and transparency around CSR performance, are important in reducing capital constraints















Kolak & Tulder (2010);

Tai et al. (2014);

Bogna (2018)






Social responsibility “which creates long-term sustainability for corporate success by meeting the needs of all suppliers, investors and employees” into their ownership advantage.


· MNEs can implement CSR, and help enterprises or firms exceed their efficiency by focussing on new scientific innovations.

Activities of banks have become symbol of speculation after global financial crisis of 2007.





Groves and Larocca (2011)




leadership was associated with follower beliefs in the stakeholder view of CSR.

Leadership styles influences ethical values and ultimately the CSR activities


CSR and organisation / Firm performance

Petrenko et al. (2016);

Ali et al. (2010)

Mishra and Suar (2010)

The study found significantly

positive relationship between CSR actions and employee organizational commitment, CSR and

organizational performance & employee organizational commitment & organizational performance

organizations can enhance their employee organizational  commitment through

involving themselves in social activities.

Responsible business practices towards primary stakeholders can be

profitable and beneficial to Indian firms

Financial performance

Wang & Bansal (2012)

Investors invests more on such institutions which focuses more on CSR leading to high financial performance.

Further analysis reveals that institutional investors, rather than individual investors, are more subject to the influence of CSR.




Hildebrand et al. (2011)

CSR as an optimal

managerial tool for promoting alignment between multiple corporate identities (e.g. internal, external),

which ultimately leads to key benefits for the company.

This suggests that CSR activities should

should be integrated into the

entire fabric of the company, aligning all areas of the organisation, from Human

Resources to Public Relations to Marketing


Value proposition

Green & Peloza (2011).

CSR can provide three forms of value to consumers: emotional, social, and functional.

value created by one form of CSR can either enhance or diminish other product attributes.

Source: Prepared by authors


Table 1.2 highlights that the major researches conducted during the period of eight years starting from 2010 to present year of 2018 were majorly related with six areas namely (i) value of Firm, (ii) Sustainability, (iii) Leadership, (iv) performance of firm (v) Marketing Perspective and (vi) value proposition. The researchers who concentrated on financial perspectives of CSR were of the opinion that CSR practices can bring down the operational profits in the short run but can be helpful in increasing the goodwill in the long run which will be helpful in raising capital from primary markets. Further the researchers who studied the impact of CSR on sustainability emphasised on innovation and ethical practices to gain the objective of balance between the facets of triangle of sustainability namely economic, social and environmental development through CSR. The researchers indicated that indeed it is transformational leadership style which can help in better implementation of CSR in organisations.  The dimension of firm performance was studied from the pointers of financial as well as from the employees’ point of view. The study indicated that CSR has the power and capacity to influence the institutional stakeholder while the take decisions to invest in companies. Further the researchers also linked high employee organisational commitment to CSR practices. CSR was also examined from the value proposition point of view. The researchers concluded that CSR can enhance or diminish the value of firms in the eyes of customer in emotional, social and functional dimensions.   

Further a plethora of studies have been conducted to understand and analyse the benefits derived from the very practise of CSR the researchers analysed the selected research papers to understand the direct and indirect benefits that can be derived from the practise of CSR.  Table 1.3 studies the benefits which were cited again and again by the research papers over the years.


Table 1.3: Benefits of CSR in Different Functional Areas

Functional Area








High Firm Value


Aras et al. (2010); Guenster et al. (2011); Jo and Harjoto, (2011); Kim et al. (2012); Alafi & Hasoneh (2012)

Reduce risk

 Jo  & Na (2012)

Easier access to finance

 Cheng, Ioannou, & Serafeim (2014)

Low Cost Of Capital; Equity Capital; debt

Dhaliwal et al. (2012); El Ghoul et al. (2011); Chava (2010); Roberts (2011)

Higher Stock Return

Deng et al. (2013)


Increased Profitability

Bolanle et al. (2012);  Alexander (2012)

Increase In No. Of  Investors

Dhaliwal et al. (2012); Kim et al.  (2012)

Increased shareholder value

Deng et al. (2013); Cheng et al. (2014); El Ghoul et al. (2011)

Reduce contracting cost


Brammer & Pavelin (2006); Du et al. (2011); Zhang et al. (2014)

Increased financial performance


Ditlev-Simonsen (2012); Hofman & Newman (2014); De Roeck & Delobbe (2012) De Roeck et al. (2014); Stites & Michael (2011); Aguinis and Glavas (2012; Coulmont and Berthelot (2015)

Human Resource


Reduced Employee Turnover


Galbreath (2011)


Increased Employee Trust &  satisfaction,


Edmans, (2012)


Enhanced Employee Participation/ commitment 


Ditlev-Simonsen, (2012); Hofman & Newman (2014); De Roeck & Delobbe (2012); De Roeck et al. (2014); Stites & Michael (2011)

Employee Retention,


Galbreath (2011)

Attract Top Talents

Berger (2004);   Bauman and Skitka (2012)


Berger (2004)

Job Satisfaction


Deltiv-Semonsen (2012); Kwan & Tuuk (2012); De Roeck et al. (2014)

Empoyee’s attitude and behaviour    

Ditlev-Simonsen (2012); Johnson, Morgeson, & Hekman (2012)

Employee satisfaction


DeRoeck et al.(2014)



Increased Customer Loyalty, Consumer Value proposition,

Increased Sales

Lev et al. (2010)

Brand image


Porter & Kramer (2006, 2011)


Customer satisfaction


Galbreath (2010); Mulki & Jaramillo (2011); Alafi and Hasoneh (2012

Attract new customers


 Lev et al. (2010)


Consumers’ confidence


Du, Bhattacharya, & Sen, (2011); Zhang, Ma, Su, & Zhang, (2014)

Overall Advantage

Better stakeholder engagement


Benabou & Tirole (2010); Eccles et al. (2013); Jo and Harjoto (2011, 2012)


Enhance Firm’s Competitive Advantage

Doh, Lawton, and Rajwani (2012); Flammer (2013); Mulki & Jaramill (2011)

Firm reputation


Galbreath (2011); Mulki & Jaramillo (2011);

Aguinis and Glavas (2012); Coulmont and Berthelot (2015)

Source: Prepared by authors


The concept of CSR is debatable as the benefits derived from CSR can generally be felt and cannot be attributed only to CSR. A large number of studies have tried to justify the stand of companies by linking the benefits that a company can derive from CSR through various empirical and conceptual articles. The researchers have tried to sum up the benefits which have featured gain and again in the conclusions of papers related with CSR. The benefits have been arranged as per the functional areas of marketing, finance, Human resources and others which are termed as overall advantage.  The area of finance is the most debated area because it correlates the benefits with the associated cost. The benefits in financial area were High value to firm, reduced risk, Easier access to finance, Low Cost of Capital; Equity Capital; debt, Higher Stock Return, Increased Profitability, Increase in number Of Investors, Increased shareholder value, Reduce contracting cost, Reduce contracting cost, Increased financial performance were benefits related with financial area.

The benefits related with marketing area by and large were related with the outlook of customers. The researchers indicate that CSR practices provides Increased Customer Loyalty, Consumer Value proposition, Increased Sales, brand Image, Customer satisfaction, attraction of new customers, and customer confidence. Further Reduced Employee Turnover, Increased Employee Trust And Satisfaction, Enhanced Employee Participation/ commitment, Employee Retention, Attract Top Talents, Employees’ Social Valuation, social behaviour (preventing absenteeism), Recruitment, Job Satisfaction,  Employee’s attitude and behaviour, Employee satisfaction were benefits related with human resource area. The overall benefits of firm had a strategic over view and dealt with Better stakeholder engagement, Enhance Firm’s Competitive Advantage and Firm reputation. In short the table 1.3 is summated below in  Figure 1.1



Effect of CSR on Business functions

Finance- high firm value , Easier access to finance

low cost of capital; equity capital higher stock return,

Increased profitability/increase in no. of investors

Increased shareholder value, Access to external capital

HR- reduced employee turnover, increased employee trust and satisfaction, enhanced employee participation, employee retention, attract top talents

Marketing- increased customer loyalty & consumer value proposition, increased sales, Brand image, customer satisfaction, Attract new customers, Consumers’ confidence, Customer loyalty


Better stakeholder engagement, enhance firm’s competitive advantage













Figure1.1 Benefits of CSR

(Source: Prepared by authors)


Figure 1.3 was supported by the studies of various scholars whose details have been provided in table 1.4


Table 1.4 Benefits of CSR across research papers


Benefits of CSR


Supported by



High valuation and low risks


Derwall and Verwijmeren (2007); Chava (2010); El-Ghoul et al.(2011); Chen et al., (2009)






Consumers :Purchase, Loyalty, Advocacy


Employees: Productivity, Loyalty Citizenship Behaviour, Advocacy


Investors: Amount of Invested Capital, Loyalty


Bhhattacharya (2010)





Attract and keep top talent


Albinger & Freeman (2000)


Better stakeholder engagement, Enhance Firm’s Competitive Advantage and Firm reputation

Benabou and Tirole (2010); Eccles et al. (2011); Jo and Harjoto (2011, 2012); (Doh, Lawton, and Rajwani (2012); Flammer (2013); Mulki & Jaramillo (2011);Galbreath (2010); Aguinis and Glavas (2012); Coulmont and Berthelot (2015); Viviani, Revelli and Mallick (2015)

(Source: Prepared by authors)


The selected studies related with CSR during the time span of 2010 to 2108 provided the researchers the must needed understanding of the concept of CSR.  The studies indicate that future researchers can undertake research in the following dimensions of study:




Concept of CSR

Awareness of stakeholders, perception and attitude of stakeholders, policies and practices of CSR, Dimensions of CSR, investment made by companies in the area of CSR

Relationship Studies

Impact of CSR on Functional areas like marketing, finance, Human Resources and strategic management

Benefits of CSR

Implied and direct benefits from the practice of CSR

 CSR is a concept which has come to stay. Many countries are trying to make the practise of CSR mandatory. There has been a constant debate on part of corporates against the legality of the case. The enterprises across the world perceive that CSR practices must be voluntary. India has made CSR practise mandatory by making an amendment in the companies Act 2013. The corporates houses in India have accepted the law and are trying to adhere and comply by its rules. Rana & Majumdar (2017) indicated that companies are giving an active contribution to sustainability trends and are pushing towards cleaner environment, green supply chains, water conservation and conservation of renewable energy. This has again initiated the need across the world to bring CSR under legal scanner. More research in the fields of CSR can provide the required base to policy makers to decide a working non objectionable mandate for CSR. 


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