Principals and Agents: Further Thoughts on the Friedmanite Critique of Corporate Social Responsibility
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© Oxford University Press, 2008. All rights reserved.Friedman's original critique of corporate social responsibility (CSR) remains one of the most important in the CSR literature. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that Friedman provides an outline of a critique as he does not fully develop his arguments. In any case this article defines the requirements for a CSR, which is ethical because it does not renounce obligations to shareholding principals, as well as specifying the challenges of CSR given the nature of the principal-agent relationship. By following the logic inherent in Friedman's argument, this article highlights some of the very practical problems that need to be resolved in order to move the CSR agenda forward. This article identifies many of the challenges that CSR faces if it is to move beyond symbol to substance.