What is the Carroll’s Four-Part Model of CSR?
The most established and widely acknowledged model of CSR is the ‘Four-part model of corporate social responsibility, created by Carroll, and further refined in subsequent publications. This model is depicted in Figure 2.1. Carroll’s beliefs are based on the foundation that CSR is a multi-layered pyramid, which can be categorised into four interdependent sections; economic, legal, ethical, and philanthropic responsibilities. In order to gain “true,” social responsibility businesses must meet all four levels consecutively. As a result, Carroll and Buchholtz proposed the subsequent definition:
“Corporate social responsibility includes the economic, legal, ethical, and philanthropic expectations placed on organisations by society at a given point in time”.
The positive aspect of this CSR model is that it categorises the different social responsibilities into various sections, while also acknowledging the very blatant need for the firm to be profitable and legal. However, the concept’s Achilles heel is that it does not sufficiently tackle the issue of what would happen if two or more responsibilities are in conflict with each other.
Consumers do care about a corporations‘ CSR practices but, respond toward companies‘ CSR differently through their purchasing behaviour. Consumers’ decisions have consequences for the entire society. Socially responsible corporations are more appealing to consumers, as consumers care about a firms‘ CSR and their impact on the environment. They reward and punish firms accordingly by choosing or exhibit aversion to firms’ products. Consumers are willing to pay a premium for products made in socially and environmentally responsible ways. Carrigan and Attalla also identified that consumers are not the only stakeholders of a business. Other stakeholders such as employees, environmental organisations may care much more about a firm’s CSR. Each stakeholder group has a focus on firms’ CSR. The emphasis is usually what influences their interest most. When addressing CSR, firms need to always engage the target stakeholders and their focus on concerns.