Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Publication Source

International Leadership: A Reference Guide.


Mission Bell Media

Peer Reviewed



Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is when organizations take actions that are perceived to further the good of society that go beyond just company self-interest and legal requirements. CSR involves companies engaging in behaviors that benefit humanity in the more general sense. CSR is often organizations looking to accomplish a triple bottom line that includes the economic interests of the firm, social good, and environmental well-being. Such actions can vary widely but include charity donations, supporting local communities, using eco-friendly materials, volunteering organizational time and resources to social causes, and even safeguarding human rights in areas with unstable governments. Corporate Social Responsibility can be focused on the needs of local communities but for multinational organizations spread across many different countries CSR is inherently international in nature. Organizations can be doing CSR actions in countries spread across the globe. Leaders can play a crucial role in how and even whether an organization engages in CSR, with leadership CSR behaviors effected by a leader’s personality and individual characteristics. CSR can also be controversial in nature as people with different perspectives or values may not agree on what corporate behaviors are indeed responsible and there are prominent examples of organizations that have engaged in what has been termed “greenwashing,” doing corporate actions that look environmentally responsible to the public but in fact have little positive impact, being little more than public relations stunts. CSR is a major concept in international business and an area almost all organizational leaders need to engage with.


corporate social responsibility, leadership


Industrial and Organizational Psychology | Organizational Behavior and Theory