The last half decade has witnessed a remarkable resurgence of attention among practitioners and scholars to understanding the ability of corporate social responsibility (CSR) to address environmental and social problems. Although significant advances have been made, assessing the forms, types, and impacts on intended objectives is impeded by the conflation of distinct phenomena, which has created misunderstandings about why firms support CSR, and the implications of this support, or lack thereof, for the potential effectiveness of innovative policy options. As a corrective, we offer seven categories that distinguish efforts promoting learning and stakeholder engagement from those requiring direct on-the-ground behavior changes. Better accounting for these differences is critical for promoting a research agenda that focuses on the evolutionary nature of CSR innovations, including whether specific forms are likely to yield marginal or transformative results.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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