Ethical Performance
inside intelligence for responsible business


Corporate social responsibility: readings and cases in a global context

December 2008

A Crane, D Matten, L Spence (eds) Paperback. 544 pages. Routledge. £32.50.

This collection of essays  drawn together under three headings (‘understanding’, ‘applying’ and ‘managing’ CSR) covers a lot of ground. In its separate sections, the editors present readings in an exhaustive range of topics, from third world to marketplace, from reporting to organizational morality.

In its historical breadth it provides some valuable background to a still nebulous concept. Milton Freidman, for example, appears first with his article The social responsibility of business is to increase its profits. The book, though, is confused in its use of such seminal documents. Friedman’s article goes undated (it was done back in 1970), and is shown next to articles from 1991 and 2004.

Something missing that one might expect from an academic publisher is a case against CSR from outside the business community, an idea that might vary the uniformity of the conceptual essays.

For the practitioner, however, the studies could prove useful. In the concrete cases from business the book offers a compelling if somewhat selective narrative of specific challenges in CSR.

With its comprehensive scholarship and detail, this book is designed for a burgeoning student market. While it seems destined to become a core text in the field, in its accessibility and scope it could also offer the more casual or experienced reader food for thought  – though the sustenance may be lacking a little in variation.

Ben Hickman

Ben Hickman | Global | CSR


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