The Marketing Effects and Limits of CSR

The Marketing Effects and Limits of CSR

How much is enough when it comes to CSR? This examination is based on the principles and views of Peter Drucker, and his concept of "bounded goodness."
Leo Wong August 30, 2010
What is the effect of corporate social responsibility (CSR) principles on marketing and the extent to which a company should conduct CSR activities? In particular, the author of this paper focuses on an issue that haunts many of today's businesses: determining how much CSR is enough. According to the author, CSR should be pursued only as long as a firm's profitability can be maintained and the company has the competence and authority to continue its CSR activities. Effective responses to social impacts and social problems may also be found through business opportunities or regulation.


Thought leaders have long debated the role and relevance of CSR in business. This paper elaborates on Peter Drucker's view that once a company's responsibility to its economic interests is satisfied, other social responsibilities should be considered.


Implications for Managers

Implications for Researchers

Future research can explore the extent of marketing's responsibilities to CSR by examining successful marketing activities (e.g., preventative product recalls) compared to activities that are still in question (e.g., cause-related campaigns, such as Product Red) to increase our understanding of the scope and factors of "bounded goodness."


This paper reviews Drucker's writings with the aim to identify the limits of CSR activities in marketing. The author presents historical and recent examples from both successful and unsuccessful marketing efforts.
Smith, N. Craig (2008). Bounded goodness: marketing implications of Drucker on corporate responsibility. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 37, 73-84.

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