Doctoral Study Business Problem:
Savior C Wright
August 24, 2017
Doctoral Topic: Corporate Social Responsibility
The topic that I am interested in studying is that of Corporate Social Responsibility
(CRS). The topic itself has gradually developed and continues to evolve every day. An
expanding body of evidence shows that businesses are being forced to treat corporate social
responsibility as an element central to their strategy (Crane, 2008). In fact, corporate social
responsibility has become one of the standard business practices of our time. Corporate social
responsibility is concerned with business’ commitment to contribute to sustainable economic
development by treating all its stakeholders ethically and in a socially responsible manner
(Cavico, 2013). The main aim of corporate social responsibility is businesses to engage
themselves in social responsibilities rather than solely focusing their activities on profit motives.
The need to study the topic emanates from the need to examine and understand some of the
factors that have led to the development of the concept of corporate social responsibility and why
businesses need to develop proper corporate business practices for their emerging markets.
Corporate Responsibility History
Over the last two decades, there has been a significant change in triangular associations
between firms, governments, and societies. These have primarily been influenced by changes in
business environments that have undergone vast changes concerning both competition and the
wave of globalization that continues to sweep across markets (Crane, 2008). Today, companies
are expanding their boundaries from the countries of their origin to evolving markets in
developed and developing countries. Companies have begun to realize that engaging in clearly
defined business practices, public goodwill, and responsible business etiquette is of paramount
importance in a business gaining competitive advantages in the competitive environments and
enjoying continued existence (Cavico, 2013). Previous studies that have focused on this topic of
research have noted that today’s firms are no longer acting as independent entities regardless of
the interest of the general public. In actual sense, the way businesses associate with the state and
societies has been said to have slowly transformed from philanthropic coexistence to one that
entails mutual interest for all the stakeholders (Rothaermel, 2015). Researchers in previous
studies have also noted that businesses are now seeing the need to have policies and procedures
that integrate environmental, social, ethical, human rights, and consumer interests into business
operations, all in close collaboration with stakeholders.
Corporate Impact and Consequences
For companies, the overall intention is to achieve a positive impact on the society while
maximizing shared value for owners of the business, its employees, shareholders, and
stakeholders. Companies that practice corporate social responsibility are rated higher and are
likely to enjoy greater customer retention and customer loyalty, positive brand outlooks,
increased competitiveness, greater financial gains, and cost savings (Rothaermel, 2015).
Studying corporate social responsibility would be relevant in an era when governments, activists,
the media, and the society as a whole have become adept at holding companies accountable for
the social consequences of their activities (Cavico, 2013). Studying the topic would impact a
better understanding of why corporate citizenship has emerged as an inescapable priority for
business leaders all areas of business, all industries, and in every country. My selection of the
topic reflects similarities with what is discussed in the media piece ‘Choosing a Doctoral Topic.’
In its broadest sense, my topic is of growing concern, investigates old ideas, is relevant and
straight to the point, and provides a chance for future research.
Studying the topic would be based on various research questions. The first research
question would be, “Is corporate social responsibility necessary or optional for businesses?” The
second research question would be, “Does corporate social responsibility improve corporate
reputation and thus performance?” Answering these questions would necessitate quantitative
data, which would be collected through different scientific methods. These include but are not
limited to interviews, observations, questionnaires, and focus groups.
Cavico, F. J. (2013). Corporate social responsibility. Carrollton, KY: iLead Academy.
Crane, A. (2008). The Oxford handbook of corporate social responsibility. Oxford, UK: Oxford
Rothaermel, F. T. (2015). Strategic management. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
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