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Business Law, Public Responsibility, and Ethics Commons

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Corporate Finance

Liberty University

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The Corporate Social Responsibility Debate, Zachary Cheers Apr 2011

The Corporate Social Responsibility Debate, Zachary Cheers

Senior Honors Theses

The purpose of this study is to evaluate the arguments concerning corporate social responsibility (CSR). The two sides of the debate are stakeholder theory and shareholder theory. Proponents of stakeholder theory support providing for the discretionary expectations of society. On the other hand, advocates of shareholder theory maintain that businesses should simply obey the law and maximize shareholder wealth. Although CSR is enthusiastically espoused by many social progressives, it is not a panacea for society’s ills. The conclusion of this study is that corporations should focus on legally maximizing shareholder wealth based on ethical principles. CSR should only be ...