As the industrialization and globalization have become more intense for decades, the concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR) becomes more advocated and is employed by corporation globally (Smith, 2011). However, despite an urge for performing “good” social roles, there still be numerous of organizations showing their unwillingness to fulfill their expected responsibility due to the controversy of how the concept should be defined amongst academia, businesses, and society, in addition to the conflict of interests between a firm’s shareholders and stakeholders that accounts mostly for difficulties in implementing CSR practices. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to dig deeper into above problems by presenting the definition of CSR and the importance of its role in international business along with the difficulties arising when implementing its practices on global scale, especially in Vietnam.
What Is Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)?
Since it is a rising issue in worldwide businesses nowadays, the concept of social responsibility (sometimes called corporate social responsibility, abbreviated as CSR, or corporate citizenship, triple-bottom line, social enterprise, and corporate governance, etc.) should be defined precisely. Griffin & Pustay (2013, p. 121) suggested that CSR is “a set of obligations an organization undertakes to protect and enhance the society in which it functions.” In other words, CSR is perceived as a social role that an organization is expected to play or an evaluation standard on how well a company manages their economic, social, and environmental influences. Hence, companies are facing rising demands to exercise their social responsibility toward their stakeholders such as employees, consumers, suppliers, policymakers, natural environment, local communities, and the society-at-large in the workplace, the marketplace, the supply chain, the environment it functions, the community, and the public policy realm, respectively.
In an attempt to manage ethical conduct, businesses usually make some effort to address social responsibility; however, their positions on social responsibility vary with the levels and the approaches they use in their practices. Their willingness to engage in this corporate citizenship falls along a continuum ranging from the lowest to the highest degree of socially responsible acts, categorized respectively as obstructionist stance, defensive stance, accommodative stance, and proactive stance (Griffin & Pustay, 2013). Moreover, different businesses apparently choose different approaches to social responsibility having constructed carefully on cost-benefit analysis with resource-based view (McElhaney, 2009). These approaches include not only philanthropic giving, considered among the most common approaches (Dragičević, Tsang, Ho, Kwok & Brown, 2008), but also their legal and ethical compliance, leadership practices and corporate culture, and responses to critics, negative claims,...