Review Essay: Four Books on CSR


I wrote an extended review essay for Organization on four recent books about corporate social responsibility. The books are:

Managing Corporate Social Responsibility: A Communication Approach, W. T. Coombs and S. J. Holladay. Chichester: Wiley, 2011. 200 pp. £23.50. ISBN 9781444336450

Stakeholders Matter: A New Paradigm for Strategy in Society, S. Sachs and E. Rühli. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011. 296 pp. £55.00. ISBN 9780521196390

Global Perspectives on Corporate Governance and CSR, G. Aras and D. Crowther (eds). Farnham: Gower Publishing Ltd, 2009. 364 pp. £70.00. ISBN 9780566088308

The Handbook of Communication and Corporate Social Responsibility, O. Ihlen, J. Bartlett and S. May (eds). Chichester: Wiley, 2011. 608 pp. £110.00. IBSN 9781444336344

The authors and editors of these works largely locate CSR in the relationships that characterize business operations, the processes of change management that all firms must adopt to thrive in the global economy, the legal codes of corporate governance that affect the firm’s very existence, or the communicative practices that constitute the firm, its agents, and its partners. Importantly, all four of these books center communication—either as the effective transmission of CSR related information, or as shaping the relationships among organizational agents, or as the symbolic building blocks that constitute both the firm and what counts as CSR—suggesting that CSR scholars need to take a deeper look at the communicative processes at stake. In the remainder of this essay, I review these books individually, following which I highlight three aspects of mainstream CSR research that they suggest may be long overdue for a re-haul: specifically, local/global connectedness, dialogue and materiality.

You can download the review essay here.


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