Is there a Social Contract between the Firm and Community: Revisiting the Philosophy of Corporate Social Responsibility

International Journal of Development and Sustainability 7 (1):355-380 (2018)
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In this study, I demonstrated that there is a corporate social contract between firms and their host communities. The implication is that the idea of the social contract places corporate social responsibility (CSR) on a conditional pivot, whereby the host communities have to fulfil their own side of the contract in order to merit CSR projects. I examined the implication of the social contract for corrupt and unaccountable host communities. I based my analysis on two philosophical frameworks, namely: one, Constructive Approach CSR (CA-CSR), and two, Restorative Approach CSR (RA-CSR). CA-CSR is hinged on the deontological and utilitarian moral frameworks, while RA-CSR is based on the restorative justice framework. Further, I developed ‘CSR Calculus’ (V = f1+n + K) to determine the value of CSR-due for a host community, in response to Milton Friedman questions of arbitrariness in the formulation of CSR projects. I also demonstrated how the CSR Calculus can be applied to determine the value of CSR owed communities by Micro, Small and Medium scale Enterprises (MSMEs). Finally, I used the ethic ‘leave a better community’ derived from the Annang proverb – Assidsip ye Akwot-kwot ete yak mfin ami afon akan mkpong (Assidsip and Akwot-kwot say make today better than yesterday) to signpost the corporate social contract and demonstrated why it is essential for every firm to commission and decommission its operations in socially responsible manner such that it can bequeath a better future society.

Author Profiles

Diana-Abasi Ibanga
University of Calabar, Calabar, Nigeria


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