The Business of Social Responsibility: Evidence from the Garment Industry in Northeast Thailand
Many business managers demonstrate a reluctance to engage fully with corporate social responsibility (CSR). They often perceive CSR as a cost and their CSR activities tend to be piecemeal and defensive. Such suboptimal outcomes can stem from a failure to appreciate a firm’s social assets. We suggest that firms have the potential to engage much more fully with CSR, in a manner that is consistent with a profit-maximizing approach to business. But managers need help in both gaining an awareness of the social contributions that they can make and in navigating their way through CSR issues. To this end, we outline a program of four-Ds, namely dialogue, data, design and delivery, to assist managers integrate CSR issues into their overall business strategies. Our case study of the garment industry in Thailand illustrates how CSR issues can be leveraged to increase worker productivity and deliver positive social and community health outcomes, despite operating in an area that is often subject to criticism.
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