Corporate social responsibility is useful only when it is made useful

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


This chapter argues that the main positive impact of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a legitimacy effect on business. There is much evidence to suggest that when CSR has proven useful for nature and society, it was made useful as a result of active mobilisation of non-business stakeholders. In a constructive spirit, we discuss how CSR can be made useful through: (1) business-aligned stakeholder actions, (2) agonistic dialogue and regulation, and (3) radical, subversive interventions. We conclude that while Sustainable Development Goal 17 encourages business-aligned stakeholder actions, its failure to be open to agonistic and radical approaches is problematic in the prospect of tackling wicked problems.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTransformative Action for Sustainable Outcomes : Responsible Organising
EditorsMaria Sandberg, Janne Tienari
Number of pages6
Place of PublicationAbingdon, Oxon
Publication date2022
ISBN (Print)978-1-032-13534-2, 978-1-032-13536-6
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-003-22972-8
Publication statusPublished - 2022
MoE publication typeA3 Book chapter

Publication series

NameRoutledge advances in sociology


  • 512 Business and Management

Areas of Strength and Areas of High Potential (AoS and AoHP)

  • AoS: Responsible organising

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