Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is not a new idea. However, CSR has never been more prominent on the corporate agenda than it is today. This article examines the pressures for increased corporate attention to CSR and whether this attention is warranted and likely to be sustained. It differentiates between the business case for CSR and the normative case and concludes that often there may be a compelling business case for making a substantial commitment to CSR, but an individual firm must assess the extent to which the general business case for CSR applies to its specific circumstances. For some firms, CSR may be a major influence on corporate strategy. Companies making a substantial commitment to CSR—because of a business or a normative case—are likely to find that this involves major challenges with respect to the formulation and implementation of CSR strategy, not least because of the uncertainties inevitably associated with determining a firm's societal obligations.
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