The new edition of our textbook on CSR, Corporate Social Responsibility: Readings and Cases in a Global Context, written with our colleague Laura Spence, hit the shelves a few weeks ago - just in time for the new academic year. And we're pleased to see that it's flying off those shelves pretty fast too. In its first month alone, the book sold almost a 1000 copies, which is pretty good going - and a big uptick on like-for-like sales from last time around.
The second edition is quite a change from the first. It's still based around readings of classic and recent articles on CSR, but we've updated more than half of these, written three brand new cases, and overall it has a much more textbook-like feel to it. Along with Routledge, the publishers. we've worked hard at refreshing the design and contents to make the text much more user friendly, more lively and engaging, and with a great new companion website to help students and instructors make the most of the book. This includes a whole bunch of annotated links to CSR in practice which help readers see where theory in the book turns into practice as well as links to career resources for budding CSR professionals. Of course, there are also all the usual instructor resources like powerpoint slides and teaching notes, as well as a cool new "Case Club" which has suggested cases for each of the chapters in the book. It really is as close to the complete package for a CSR course kit as we could get it.
To mark the launch of the book, we are making available, completely free, a download of the first chapter, "Corporate social responsibility: in a global context", over at the Social Science Research Network. This is the exact same version as you'll find in the book, downloadable as a pdf. You don't need to sign in, register, or anything. Just go to the right page and click "Download This Paper". It's that simple.
The chapter is a good basic CSR 101 for anyone trying to get their head's around the subject. Among other things, it includes discussion on the nature and definition of CSR, and its emergence in different national contexts (including developing and transitional economies) and even different organizational contexts (such as small and large firms, and public, private and nonprofit organizations). As with the previous edition, although we discuss a whole bunch of different definitions of CSR, we don't introduce a new one. Instead we try and capture what is common across CSR definitions in order to determine the main unique features of the phenomenon. We call these the six core characteristics of CSR, which are shown in the Figure below.
As we are often heard remarking, CSR is a field of "conceptual anarchy". Hopefully by reading the introduction, and who knows, maybe reading more of the book in class, at the library, or just for your own enjoyment and education, we can hopefully help you navigate through some of the confusion to reach a clearer, if no less complex, understanding of a sometimes elusive idea.
See also: Our top 10 tips for teaching CSR