published on February 3, 2015
Igor Blumberg, Nick Lin-Hi
Business Case-Driven Management of CSR
Does Managers' "Cherry Picking" Behavior Foster Irresponsible Business Practices?
The business case for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a powerful driver for mainstreaming socially responsible behavior in corporate practice. This is because managers’ proclivity to assume responsibility is positively correlated with their expectations that CSR pays off. However, there is the danger that managers might be tempted to focus primarily on those CSR activities that allow to link the associated costs and benefits ex ante reliably which, in turn, is a precondition for a perceived business case. Unfortunately, the perceived business case for CSR activities that prevent irresponsible behavior (“avoiding bad”) is rather weak. In contrast, CSR in terms of the voluntary engagement for society (“doing good”) is quite promising for the perceived business case. In consequence, a business case–driven approach to CSR might foster “cherry picking” behavior, in the sense that managers might tend to reduce CSR to “doing good” and put less efforts on CSR in terms of “avoiding bad” which, in turn, increases the risk of irresponsible business practices.