Although CSR derives from the nineteenth-century practice of philanthropists, its modern concept is based on the premise that the corporations have a particular duties towards the internal and external environment in which they operate. A stress of that obligation was intensified in 1960s and 1970s by social activists, who criticized large corporations and elites for holding an enormous power within the society, claiming that it should imply increased responsibility and protection for the groups whose interests those may affect.
CSR claims to have equal benefits to both its benefactor and beneficent, and is said to be an “enlightened self-interest of mutual benefit to both donor and beneficiary”. However this statement is being questionable on several grounds. First of all, the company’s benefits in form of “either ensuring a healthier economic climate in which the company operates or in terms of improved image and competitive edge for the company” are deemed to be much more higher the recipient’s, and secondly recipients have no autonomy in a decision-making process: “donors choose beneficiaries, activities and the amount of money, resources and the length of commitment.”(L’Etang, Pieczka; 2006).
Role of PR in CSR
CSR is considered as a PR tool as it serves as a technique to build relationships with company’s stakeholders, and influences a company’s image and reputation.
“Public relations practitioners may be responsible for proposing corporate social responsibility activities and identifying relevant publics, objectives, messages. In this way public relations practitioners are directly involved in policy formulation. It is not, therefore, a question of senior management working out their organizational responsibilities and then the public relations practitioner communicating the policy actions, but of public relations actively driving the programme and setting corporate objectives.” (L’Etang, Pieczka; 2006).
Moreover CSR takes an important role in the issues management process. Hence, for the biggest part, issues are arising in the social field, it is vital to monitor the trends and respond to the stakeholders’ expectations by implementing adequate CSR programs, which undermine crisis emergency.
“CSR supports reputation risk management strategies by:
- Managing short term risk by acquiring quality information through dialogue;
- Accessing valuable marketplace and societal trends data;
- Moving towards consensus and away from conflict through better stakeholder management;
- Influencing views and behaviour inside and outside the organisation, with associated performance benefits;
- Enhancing value through socially responsible investment.”
(Regester, Larkin; 2005)
L'Etang, J., Pieczka, M., (2006). Public Relations. Criticaldebates and contemporary practice. International Thomson Business Press.
Regester, M., Larkin, J., (2008). Risk Issues and Crisis Management in Public Relations. Kogan Page