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Purpose – With globalisation pressures and increasing burdens on governments to provide comprehensive social services, there is now a need to better understand how firms play their part in sharing these burdens. Views vary from those who believe that CSR and CSI are distractions from profit maximisation to those who argue that participation in such activities contributes to positive social transformation and also benefits participating firms themselves. This paper seeks to conceptualise these debates. Design/methodology/approach – The paper largely utilises a literature review to derive the research conclusions. Specifically, it examines how CSR, CSI and the socially responsible investment (SRI) index has been used to evaluate corporate behaviour in South Africa, as a novel way of addressing pressing development problems. Findings – CSI has emerged from the specificities of South African historical development, and it has arguably been driven primarily by legislation and industry charters. It is in this context that CSI, with its paraphernalia of the SRI Index and social capital market, promises to present a new and radical way of addressing developmental problems. Originality/value – This paper is one of the few studies examining the phenomenon of corporate social investment from a developing economy context.
Social Responsibility Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: Aug 2, 2011
Keywords: CSR; CSI; South Africa; Developing economies; Social responsibility; Developing countries
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