Document Type

Student Research Paper


Spring 2016

Academic Department


Faculty Advisor(s)

Dr. Ciocirlan


Corporate social responsibility (CSR) entails “achieving commercial success in ways that honor ethical values and respect people, communities, and the natural environment” (White, 2006). There has been increasing pressure on organizations to be good corporate citizens and implement CSR strategies, however research is lacking on whether CSR strategies are beneficial to the companies that are incorporating them. While there is no doubt that a company’s CSR initiatives help society, it is important to explore also whether it is just society that reaps the benefits or whether the business also is positively affected. This paper consists of a review of current literature on this topic, as well as a study, consisting of 12 in-depth interviews with small to medium-sized business executives in the Lancaster, PA region, conducted to garner more evidence. The purpose was to find whether CSR strategies in general positively influenced a company, as well as which CSR strategies seem to have the most impact. Findings point to the notion that all companies that incorporate CSR strategies have benefited in some way, whether this was a positive bottom line contribution, or a more intangible benefit such as corporate reputation. In regards to the most beneficial type of CSR strategy, any initiative that is some way related to the business implementing it, that is to say it is ‘industry-specific,’ is the most impactful contribution and brings about the most positives for society and the initiating company. Further research on this topic still needs to be conducted in order to build up more evidence-based approaches to this area that is growing in popularity due to external pressures.


Senior Thesis.

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