Think socially but act publicly: Refocsing CSR as organizational public responsibility

Soojin KIM, Singapore Management University
Jeong-Nam Kim, Purdue University
Laishan Tam, Purdue University


Current literature has identified many different definitions for the concept of corporate social responsibility. As a result, many organizations fail to implement and measure CSR strategically. This study reviews the different theories and concepts within CSR and suggests that the current scope of CSR activities is too large that organizations are unable to find a tangible link between CSR and their bottom line. Using two case examples, this study proposes refocusing the concept of CSR as corporate public responsibility (CPR) based on which organizations utilize the concept of publics to prioritize the groups to which they must fulfill their responsibilities before attending to society as a whole. Because organizations are constrained by limited resources, the concept of CPR allows them to invest their resources more strategically. The concept also addresses the limitations of existing theories. The practical implications of this concept will be discussed in detail.