Corporate Social Responsibility in Context:


Contents Summary.


                                                                                                                                                                   Updated: Oct. 2007.


These notes are based on lectures given at East London Business School, University of East London,

by Ian Pirie, and represent a personal approach to the teaching of Corporate Social Responsibility to students of business.

(See Chapter 1 Introduction).



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Part I.  History and Theory.


Chapter 1.                                                                                                Go to: Chapter 1



The need for an approach which takes into account the historical and theoretical/ideological context of CSR.

Discussing issues and cases in a theoretical and historical context enables the combining of practical steps with radical visions of alternatives.

A multi-track approach.



What is Responsibility? The moral, social and political dimensions of responsibility. The question of social responsibility.

Why is Social Responsibility a problem for business?


2. A Bit of History – before the twentieth century:                                     Go to: Chapter 2


Pre-capitalist societies and social responsibility

Emergence of capitalism and questions of ethics – Adam Smith

Late nineteenth-century capitalism – the large corporation

Questions of regulation – corporations and the state


3. Changing concerns in the twentieth century:                                          Go to: Chapter 3


The state and the power of finance

Changing issues: worker, consumer, environment, third world

Emergence of SRB – tying the issues together

Individual malpractice, business ethics, etc - alternative perspectives, or evasions?

Globalisation and global corporate power



Part II. Issues and cases.


4.  The worker                                                                                          Go to: Chapter 4


Management and motivation – the basic problem

Survey of management-led approaches to the “problem” of motivation


Workers’ co-operatives and other alternatives


5. The consumer                                                                                      Go to: Chapter 5


Emergence of the consumer movement – consumer rights, education and protection


The consumer society – having or being?

Advertising, marketing and the creation of envy

Logos and branding

Ethical consumerism

Buy nothing? The consumer strikes back.


6. The environment                                                                                 Go to: Chapter 6


Silent Spring


The Club of Rome and limits to growth

Global concerns

From the greening of business to deep ecology.


7. Developing countries and globalisation                                                    Go to: Chapter 7


Historical background – the debate over colonialism

The “widening gap”

Multinationals – friend or foe?


Trade or aid? World initiatives.

Development – for and against.

Fair Trade


8. Power, inequality                                                                                Go to: Chapter 8


Poverty and inequality in developed countries

Dimensions of poverty and powerlessness

Why should business care? Is business to blame?

What can business contribute?


LETS, time-banks and other empowering alternatives


9. An overview of views and possible remedies:                                 Go to: Chapter 9



Codes of conduct

Pressure groups


Alternative patterns of enterprise, alternative economic systems.


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