Shareholder rights and zero-sum CSR: Strategies for reconciliation

Nenad Dobos

    Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


    CSR involves the management of a corporation using the resources of that corporation to promote the welfare of non-shareholders (disadvantaged members of the community, the global poor, animals, future generations, etc.). In some cases CSR is used as a tactic to augment the competitive strength of a firm. We can call this 'instrumental CSR' or 'shared-value CSR'. This is where promoting non-shareholder welfare is seen as the best way of maximising shareholder value in the long term. In other cases, however, promoting the welfare of non-shareholders may be expected to compromise the economic interests of shareholders to some extent; one group benefits at the expense of the other. Call this 'zero-sum' CSR. If we accept the so-called principle of shareholder primacy, Zero-Sum CSR appears morally problematic. This principle says that shareholders have a unique and privileged moral status in the corporation. More specifically, it says that shareholders, in virtue of their special relationship with management, are entitled to have the corporation governed in a way that is aimed at maximising their economic interests. My aim is to carefully distinguish three argumentative strategies for reconciling Zero-Sum CSR with the moral rights of shareholders.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationCorporate social responsibility and governance
    Subtitle of host publicationTheory and practice
    EditorsSO Idowu, CS Frederikson, AY Mermod, MEJ Nielsen
    Place of PublicationDordrecht
    PublisherSpringer-Verlag London Ltd.
    Number of pages13
    ISBN (Electronic)9783319109091
    ISBN (Print)9783319109084
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

    Publication series

    Name CSR, Sustainability, Ethics & Governance


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