Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Stephen P. Turner, Ph.D.


Accountability, Biosocioeconomic, Corporate community involvement, Environmental footprint, Human well-being, Sustainability


This treatise presents a transcendental argument for corporate social responsibility. The argument is that corporate social responsibility, or CSR, is best understood as a collective moral practice that is a precondition for sustainable business. There are a number of theories and definitions of CSR in the contemporary business literature. These theories include considerations of economic, legal, social, and environmental notions of what a corporation ought to take responsibility for based on either motives or concerns of accountability for corporate acts. This work focuses on economic theories. I analyze the distinction between the technical terms "responsibility" and "accountability" found in these theories. This enables me to explicate the meaning of corporate responsibility as it relates to the conditions of sustainable business activity. These conditions necessarily include moral content. In other words, this is an applied ethics project.

First, I inquire into the intellectual history of the broader sense of corporate responsibility and review various contemporary notions of corporate social responsibility. My concern is whether these notions presuppose broader forms of moral responsibility to others as an obligation, moral responsibility for acts, or to be held morally responsible (i.e., accountable) based on moral tendencies, particular motives, or resulting outcomes. This concern forms the basis of my consideration of the notions of individual and collective responsibility. The following work includes an analysis of the notion of human choice as a collective endeavor of institutional relationships and practice in the economic market system. I argue that corporate motives for moral interrelationships are necessarily implicit in biosocioeconomic multinational market enterprise.

I conclude that an analysis of corporate community involvement may be found in a case study of Starbucks Coffee Company's efforts to practice CSR in particular coffee bean farming communities in developing countries.