Ethical Performance
inside intelligence for responsible business


Corporate responsibility: a critical introduction

June 2008

Michael Blowfield and Alan Murray. Paperback. 452 pages. Oxford University Press. £29.99.

Aimed at the burgeoning number of undergraduate and graduate students now taking modules or full-time courses on corporate responsibility topics, this wide-ranging textbook may just corner the market. It could also do brisk business among other audiences, particularly the growing number of entry-level CSR practitioners who may need to get up to speed on the topic as quickly as possible.

The two British authors – Blowfield, who is associate professor in corporate responsibility at Middlesex University Business School, and Murray, lecturer in corporate social responsibility at the University of Sheffield, are able to present their thoughts in a distinctly straightforward manner, which is not always the case with their academic peers.

They cover most of the ground thoroughly – although the book is surprisingly thin on ethical supply chain management. The core text is liberally supplemented with real life case studies. The concluding chapters offer criticisms of corporate responsibility and anticipate future trends.

It’s not a flawless effort: the chapter on the origins of CSR, for instance, starts off with a promising discussion of responsible business in the early 1900s, then quickly loses the historical thread and becomes mired in theory. But as a textbook it does its job. In fact, there’s enough solid material on the subject to almost make you think you could tutor a degree course with just this book at your side.

Peter Mason

Peter Mason | Global | Corporate Responsibility

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