Corporate Social Responsibility and Corporate Sustainability

Ivan Montiel, Loyola Marymount University, published “Corporate Social Responsibility and Corporate Sustainability: Separate Pasts, Common Futures” in the September 2008 issue of Organization and Environment. It was the most-frequently read article of July 2011 for Organization and Environment, based on calculations from Highwire-hosted articles. Most-read rankings are recalculated at the beginning of the month and are based on full-text and pdf views. Professor Montiel kindly provided the following responses to his article.

Who is the target audience for this article?

This literature review article is addressed to any scholar, student or practitioner interested in the fields of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Corporate Sustainability (CS), and/or Business Ethics and Environmental Management.

Were there findings that were surprising to you?

This article analyzes the CSR and CS definitions and measurements used by management scholars between the 1970s and 2005.  These two constructs are often used interchangeably as synonymous both in management literature and in the business world.  My goal is to present how the definitions and measurements have evolved over time and to map out similarities and differences between both constructs.

How do you see this study influencing future practice?

I think this article can be a useful tool as a reference (or guide) to anyone (scholars, students, managers, or practitioners) interested in social and environmental issues as they pertain to corporations. This article also serves as an appropriate reading assignment for MBA students in the fields of Strategy, CSR, and Sustainability.

How does this study fit into your body of work/line of research?

My stream of work is focused on corporate social and environmental strategies and sustainable development.  As one of my first articles, it helped me gain a better understanding of both CSR and CS. This paper also serves as a tool for those who seek a broad overview of these two fields of research.

How did your paper change during the review process?

Both the editor as well as the reviewers helped me refine my ideas and organize aspects of my research material found in various sections.  One of the sections I created after the first round of reviews was a discussion of different definitions of Environmental Management to complement the section on Corporate Sustainability.

What, if anything, would you do differently if you could go back and do this study again?

I definitely learned a lot during the data collection stage (literature review) of this article. Literature review articles can sometimes be very time-consuming and therefore I find it important to maintain a well-organized database of definitions and variables from the onset of the project and for each of the articles reviewed.  Having such a database would prevent researchers from having to read the same article multiple times.

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