What Aristotle Can Teach Firms About CSR

“We do all the right things, but the public always criticizes us,” they told me. “What’s wrong?” That’s something I hear more and more. The public has grown increasingly skeptical about the motivations behind corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts. I don’t blame them. I believe that this is due to the discrepancy in the two dominant approaches in rationalizing why corporations should be ethical. To understand this, it’s helpful to examine some important philosophical history. Basically, corporations are acting the way the philosophical teachings of Jeremy Bentham or those of Immanuel Kant would tell them. I believe – and my research shows – they would be wise to learn some Aristotelian lessons and better incorporate the role of emotion in their CSR efforts.

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