2.3 Evolution of Social Responsibility
In the United States, the idea of corporate social responsibility appeared in the earlypart of the twentieth century, amid growing concerns about large corporations andtheir power. The ideas of charity and stewardship helped to shape the early thinkingabout CSR in the United States. Some of the wealthier business leaders became greatphilanthropists who gave much of their wealth to educational and charitableinstitutions and developed paternalistic programs to support the recreational andhealth needs of their employees. These business leaders believed that business had aresponsibility to society that went beyond or worked in parallel with their efforts tomake profits.The term CSR itself came in to common use in the early 1970s although it wasseldom abbreviated. The term stakeholder, meaning those impacted by anorganization's activities, was used to describe corporate owners beyond shareholdersfrom around 1989. As a result of the early ideas about business’s expanded role insociety, two broad principles emerged.They are charity principle and stewardship principle. These principles have shapedbusiness thinking about social responsibility during the twentieth century. They arethe historical foundation stones for the modern idea of corporate social responsibility.
2.3.1 The charity principle
The idea that the wealthier members of society should be charitable towards those lessfortunate is a very ancient notion. Royalty through the age have been expected toprovide for the poor. The same is true of those with vast holding of property, from thefeudal times to present time. When wealthy business leaders endowed public libraries,supported settlement houses for poor, gave money to educational institutions, andcontributed fund to many other community organizations, they were continuing thislong tradition of being “my brother’s keeper”.9