Sustaining Corporate Social Responsibility


CSR is an important concept in today’s business ethics and continues to develop based on its relevance. Most organizations tend to use corporate social responsibility strategy to capture the attention of the customers. In light of this, an aspect of sustaining corporate social responsibility were introduced to help promote it. By going through different author’s perspective, it is possible to get an in-depth look when a spotlight is put on the concepts of relating to sustaining corporate social responsibility. For instance, Esper & Boies (2013) introduces the role of responsible leadership in CSR. Based on this article, responsible leadership is relevant in sustaining corporate social responsibility. It was interesting discussing sustaining corporate social responsibility through the articles and get to know the issues around the topic. Therefore, various articles will be discussed in this paper especially concerning sustaining CSR. 

Different ways of sustaining corporate social responsibility

This is a business approach that contributes to sustainable development through the provision of both the economic, social and environmental merits for all the stakeholders and employees. Various organizations are on the move to foster an environment of corporate social responsibility particularly through their operations. Therefore, there are different ways such as stakeholder engagement approach, responsible leadership, and good behaviors from both leaders and employees, of sustaining corporate social responsibilities. There is also an aspect of corporate social responsibility policies and regulation set by government. In regards to this, various researchers have contributed on this aspects indicating different roles of leaders and managers in sustaining corporate social responsibility in organizations.

Stakeholder engagement approach

Stakeholder engagement is the practice of interacting with and involving project’s stakeholders to the entire benefits of a project and its advocates. The effective performance of a project such as sustaining corporate social responsibility relies on how the stakeholders perceive it. Mason & Simmons (2014) introduced a framework that shows a rationale and method of embedding corporate social responsibility in corporate management. The implementation of a stakeholder opinion determines the limitation of the present CRS approaches, understands the need for efficiency and delineates significant stakeholder attributes and aspects. The CRS-linked anticipation of various stakeholders such as shareholders, clients, and society has been determined, and this assists to push forward the development of CRS strategy. The corporate management system is important in creating a system of sustaining social responsibility.

The author’s systematic approach connects CSR strategy to its enactment links CSR strategy leading to a number of outcomes. The system approach is used to analyze stakeholder’s perception of the system at each phase. In addition, the duty of organization in regards to CSR continues through acceptance on the mandate to report back to the stakeholders on the CSR results and commitments to remain in conversation with the actions that organizations may consider an outcome. An organization’s outcome concerning corporate social responsibility is important in understanding a world of giving back to the society. In regards to this, the systematic approach through CRS strategy resulting in a better corporate social responsibility among organizations.

The primary role of the stakeholder system model presented by the author is that it shows a formalized stakeholder involvement that allows organizations to consider the ideas of the stakeholders when making an evaluation CSR related operations. Various organizations interact with stakeholders to get resources and important concepts. On the contrary, a good number of researchers have opposed the idea that stakeholder’s involvement is a responsible task because it can or cannot involve a moral framework. Therefore, there is a possibility of some stakeholders involvement to go outside the set moral framework and may not promote sustainability.

Moreover, the author goes further to raise questions on the method for ethically acceptable involvement of stakeholders and ways to access the degree at which an organization is socially responsible. It was confirmed that both environmental and social effects that business has on community proves the need for stakeholder engagement. Moreover, to confirm the moral aspect of organizations, two modes of stakeholder’s involvement known as an ethical strategist and Habermasian were used. Most people believe that the Habermasian approach is purer as far as moral sense is concerned.

Peering into the spotlight, it is important for an organization to engage stakeholders in corporate social responsibility issues for purposes of sustaining the move. First, getting the support from various stakeholders is enough for making an organizational agenda thrive. The stakeholders are people who understand the external environment of an organization hence they are relevant when an organization wants to conduct a program in the community. Secondly, the views the stakeholders give in respect to a strategy is tailored to essential issues from society. Therefore, involving the stakeholders in organizational programs especially in corporate social responsibility.

Responsible leadership

According to Esper and Boies (2013), sustaining corporate social responsibility requires responsible leadership. They began by describing corporate social responsibility as a case where a corporation works to benefit an environment, social or human cause either by donating some money or providing goods and services. The authors determined that corporate social responsibility initiatives work best when there is engagement from the top to the bottom of the organization. The organization has to involve the staff while initiating corporate social responsibility. There has to be a culture allowing the employees to be socially responsible when performing their roles.

Besides, the authors define responsible leadership in regards to a supervisor who can engage the organization’s stakeholders at an individual level, employee’s values and interest within the organization. It is apparent that this aspect will ensure that organizational staff remains dedicated to the cause on both individual and organizational level making sure there is long-term sustainability. Thus, having a strong and responsible leadership will ensure that all policies and regulations for promoting corporate social responsibility are implemented effectively. In light of this, it is true that leadership is a core factor in sustaining corporate social responsibility in an organization.

The authors made an important distinction between embedded corporate social responsibility and peripheral corporate social responsibility. The embedded corporating are activities that are ingrained in the organization’s policies and regulations while peripheral corporate social responsibility is activities that ingrained in organizations donations and volunteering. The study carried out determined that embedded variety is rather more efficient for an organization since it is more meaningful, focusing on responsible leaders while also considering an organization’s mission and vision. Therefore, it is the role of a leader to make sure that all activities of the organizations are tailored to the goal of attaining a corporate social responsibility. The leaders must also consider the organization’s policies, mission, and vision as while serving both the organization and society.

The authors concluded that responsible leaders are important to the performance and sustainability of an organization’s corporate social responsibility initiative. It is in the interest of responsible leaders to ensure the initiatives are central to the organization’s performance as much as possible. The importance to doing so depends on making the idea of corporate social responsibility more appealing to every person at a personal level. Moreover, either through the use of formal or the informal means, it is through the organizational leader’s promoting a noble cause that the corporate culture of social responsibility can be established. Therefore, as the missing connection between an organization’s strategy and actions, the responsible leaders are significant in making sure sustainable corporate social responsibility is attained.

Role of leaders in socially responsible behaviors

Jones, Mackey & Whetten (2014) tried to evaluate the micro-foundations of corporate social responsibility by majoring on the impact of leaders. The authors wanted to understand the role of leaders in fostering corporate social responsibility within an organization. They determined the major concerns on corporate issues like organization’s diversity, treatment of staff, financial transparency, and pollution of the environment. For instance, social responsibility has to start from the organization itself by treating the workers in a good manner. In light of this, the workers will learn how to treat others especially the customers and society based on how they are treated. Therefore, leaders of an organization play a significant role in creating an environment or culture where workers are socially responsible.

Impact of individual behavior in corporate social responsibility operations

Sukserm & Takahashi (2011) suggested that transformational leadership influence others people’s behavior indirectly. The transformational leadership can take place when leaders share values, convince followers and create a relationship where they can exert an influence on a given behavior. According to the authors, transformational leadership is one of the several essential perspectives in the behavioral tradition and connects leader behaviors to corporate social responsibility.

Moreover, the authors also talked about ethical leaders as people who encourage corporate social responsibility practices by communicating ethical conduct, modeling behaviors and opposing unethical behaviors. Some of the ethical leaders could also promote social responsibility by making decisions that support the needs of various stakeholders, motivating support of worthy society service operations, encouraging improvements in product safety and promoting practices that are not harmful to the environment.

More to this, the authors also introduced the aspect of servant leadership. According to them, servant leadership starts with the feeling that an individual wants to serve. Then it goes to making a conscious choice that brings an individual to aspire to serve. Besides, the challenging part is to administer to the people in regards to the standards that are set. Servant leadership differs from another source of leadership since it majors on the betterment of organization and society. The special focus suggests that servant leadership holds crucial potential to promote corporate social responsibility. Thus, in support of this aspect, researchers have contributed to the fact that servant leadership is also important in making sure that organization are socially responsible.

Role of government in sustaining CSR

Singhal (2014) introduces a different aspect of sustaining corporate social responsibility in organizations. According to Singhal, the government also plays a role in fostering corporate responsibility. First, the government creating a specialized CSR agency to advance the practice. For example, in Thailand, the corporate social responsibility was established to promote the practices among the listed public companies. Thus, the government plays a significant role in coming up with measures for effective CSR. Second, the authorities can set up policies and regulation for corporate social responsibility in making sure that all the corporations behave based on the rules and norms of societies. On the other hand, the corporates tend to benefit from CSR operations because of its social influence and acceptance.

There is a strong connection between CSR and inclusivity for sustaining ethical, social operations. The CSR gives a strategic and competitive chance. The government policies and regulations for corporates inclusion in the system is important for fostering an environment for corporate social responsibility. According to the author, the government can play the role of raising public support and awareness about social responsibility through an aspect of inclusivity of public participation.  However, corporate social responsibility cannot be adopted without consulting the corporates but can be advanced by involving stakeholders and government authorities. Therefore, it is apparent that inclusivity in regards to sustaining CSR for the organizations to behave according to the ethical standards that are set by the government. 

The three phases of corporate social responsibility

Hamidu, Haron & Amran, (2016) evaluated the three phases of corporate social responsibility transformation from aspects. The first phase is voluntarism while the second phase is designed by a form of corporate social responsibility that is governed while the final stage is the use of CSR to attain organizational goals. In addition, the major drivers to CSR in designing corporates are determined through religious and cultural impacts. Thus, most of these aspects are responsible for sustain corporate social responsibilities. For instance, the need to building corporate reputations is among the drivers that have managed to create an enabling environment for corporate social responsibilities.


One of the most important contributions in the article is the aspect of a servant and ethical leadership in promoting their social role as leaders. Corporate social responsibility is an important aspect of the performance of an organization, especially in a competitive environment. Researchers have determined that good leadership is an important aspect in making sure that social responsiveness by an organization is sustained. In regards to this, the authors contributed some features such as ethical and servant leadership. On the other hand, the leaders are also expected to oppose ethical behaviors as part of the initiative for creating a good environment for corporate social responsibility. The continuity of CSR is greatly affected by the values and behavior of organizational employees.


Esper, S. C., & Boies, K. (2013). Responsible leadership: A missing link. Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 6(4), 351-354.

Hamidu, A., Haron, M., & Amran, A. (2016). Corporate Social Responsibility Stages of Transformation, Drivers and Dimensional Models: A Review.

Jones Christensen, L., Mackey, A., & Whetten, D. (2014). Taking responsibility for corporate social responsibility: The role of leaders in creating, implementing, sustaining, or avoiding socially responsible firm behaviors. Academy of Management Perspectives, 28(2), 164-178.

Mason, C., & Simmons, J. (2014). Embedding corporate social responsibility in corporate governance: A stakeholder systems approach. Journal of Business Ethics, 119(1), 77-86.

Sukserm, T., & Takahashi, Y. (2011). Effects of individual characteristics on learning through human resource development (hard) in corporate social responsibility (CSR) activity. International journal of the business & society, 12(2).

Singhal, N. (2014). Corporate social responsibility-Role of government. International Journal of Computing and Corporate Research, 4(1).