Purpose – Beginning with a multitude of differing definitions and theories of CSR and sustainability, an analysis of the effects and impacts of the social domain to remain an untapped resource to strengthen and merge the practice of sustainable development. The paper aims to discuss these issues. Design/methodology/approach – Utilizing a systematic review of literature between 1977 and 2013 about CSR and sustainability definitions and theories to reveal knowledge fragmentation in the use of the social domain and its implications within sustainable development. Findings – Identifies the gaps of the social domain in sustainable development and raises awareness to advance sustainable development beyond current sustainable development strategies, initiatives and practices. The pertinent publications from the inclusion and exclusion criteria in the systematic literature review were analyzed to determine how the social domain is used and interpreted in CSR and sustainability. Based upon the findings, four themes represent the social domain as socio-economics, stakeholders, societal well-being and social sustainability with suggestions for further research. Research limitations/implications – The systematic literature review searched one academic search engine and focussed on journals and books written in English. Originality/value – The contribution of the paper highlights, first, how an underdeveloped social domain can contribute toward multiple meanings of sustainable development and the social domain’s untapped capacity to develop a clearer standard definition of sustainable development and second, the potential to advance competitive advantage for corporations and governments.
World Journal of Science, Technology and Sustainable Development – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jul 13, 2015