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The Many Faces of Corporate Social Responsibility

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Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a fascinating and complex topic. There is consensus that companies both make a large impact on the world and have a responsibility beyond profits. The

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a fascinating and complex topic. There is consensus that companies both make a large impact on the world and have a responsibility beyond profits. The challenge with this responsibility is that determining businesses' responsibility and measuring the impact remains unclear. Scholars most often point to the early to mid 1900s as its starting point and the increased economic growth and workers' unions occurring in the 1950s as one of the reasons for scholars paying more attention to the topic. This thesis project analyzes current examples of CSR from Starbucks and IBM. These companies have reputations for their positive CSR practices. Both companies' availability of information, the vast number of their CSR practices, and efforts to measure the impact set them apart. IBM and Starbucks stand out because of the sheer volume of CSR activities they have, and when examined closely, the mixed, primarily good, impact of these activities is revealed. Having a high number of CSR practices alone does not equate to doing CSR well. Instead, companies' CSR should be examined based on both the number of practices and their impact. Considering both of these metrics will help consumers, as well as other stakeholders, better evaluate the success or failure of CSR in a business.

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  • 2017-05