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Corporate Social Responsibility An Evaluation of Its Relevance in the 21st Century

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Despite the debates and discourses, corporate social responsibility still requires further clarification (Dahlsrud, 2008). In addition, the current global economic downturn, which begun in 2007, has started the seeds of doubt regarding the relevance of CSR in the current global economic market (Lin-hi, 2009. Ludescher and Mahsud, 2010. Reis, Betton and Petana, 2005). This position has been raised in view of the fact that many large companies who have been involved in illegal activities that have contributed immensely to the global economic downturn were organizations that have been evaluated as socially responsible (Reis et al, 2005. Karnani, 2010). As such, some have asked whether CSR is working for the good of the society and the corporation or corporations have learned to come up with means in furthering their gains out from using CSR (Banerjee, 2008).
On the other hand, not everybody shares the pessimistic view regarding CSR (Kapoor and Sandhu, 2010. Porter and Kramer, 2002). Many scholars still believe that CSR is an essential component of modern organizations and that it authentically contributes to the good of all the identified stakeholders of the firm. In this context, it becomes necessary to understand what CSR is, and at the same time, perceive the effect of CSR in both the social responsibility performance and financial performance of organizations (Barnea and Rubin, 2010). 1. Objectives of the Research Acknowledging the vital role of CSR in the present global economic market, this research intends • To analyze corporate social responsibility. • To analyze the impact of CSR to companies in the pharmaceutical sector of Australia. • To evaluate the CSR performance of pharmaceutical organizations in Australia. • To examine the relationship of the CSR performance vis-a-vis the financial performance of the companies. • To determine the continued relevance of CSR in the 21st century. This research is significant in the face of the controversies surrounding CSR after the Enron, Exxon, BP Shell, and other similar events. Likewise, the research is necessary, as it will provide a conceptual analysis of CSR with the context of the several criticisms in CSR. This is significant based on the idea that CSR should be given a re-look as it has been used to conceal illicit activities (Lin-Hi, 2009). Moreover, it will help in providing a better understanding of the relationship between CSR and the organization by learning how does CSR contribute both to the growth of the corporations and to the good of the society. Finally, the research is crucial, as it will shed light to the issue whether CSR is still appropriate for the global economic market or there is already a need for a new paradigm (Karnani, 2010. Ries et al, 2005). 2. Research Question This study has one vital problem “Is there still relevance for CSR in the 21st Century?” In order to address this question, the researcher will be addressing three key sub-questions. These are 2.1 What is the nature of CSR? 2.2 How does CSR shape or influence the importance of an organization? 2.3 What is the relationship between CSR and the financial per