Corporate Social Responsibility Theories and Models


This paper discusses about the corporate social responsibility (CSR) theories and models. Application of corporate social responsibility theories and models is also applied on the Football Club Barcelona, which reflects the company’s interest for CSR. Theoretical background of CSR theory and model is also presented in the paper. Company background, CSR report and company criticism is also covered in the paper. Findings of the paper reflect that the company is committed for socially responsible behavior and has taken some groundbreaking measures to ensure their obligation for CSR theories.

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Corporate social responsibility is the wider phenomena that are considered as a building block of organizational success. Sign of success is nowadays measured through the extent of corporate social responsibility maintained by the organizations in this global context. There are various theories and models developed on the corporate social responsibility which are used by the organizations to improve their image in the market in order to build a strong identity in the respective market. To maintain a level of supremacy in the market, companies operating at the national as well international level are following the footprints of those who are gaining terrific outcomes from the implementation of corporate social responsibility theories. Nowadays, the company reputation is analyzed by judging whether the company is following the principles of theories oriented towards the development of a socially responsible behavior. Organizations are moving their concern towards the use of all those tools and tactics which are favoring the use of ethical practices just to create a positive image of the company. It is perceived by the organizations that without having a good reputation and position in the mind of the target market, it is not possible to remain competitive in the respective market (Mahlouji and Anaraki November 2009). Market image of companies is becoming a success factor that is now assumed by the management. Many organizations which were not in a state to even prolong their business for a longer time period are now on the top rank just due to their initiatives towards the use of ethical and socially responsible practices aimed to deliver awesome results. It is also now presumed that once an image is built, it is impossible for an organization to rectify the situation straightforwardly. One major breakthrough can be attained only under some initiatives. Social initiatives taken by organizations make them great actor in the image of society that transformed the average players into the position of market leaders, and the industry to which they belongs hardly matters. There are various Football clubs, which are performing their duties of maintaining a socially responsible behavior aimed to deliver their tremendous contribution to the society for the welfare. Football clubs which followed the footprints of socially responsible behavior are setting some new benchmarks of socially oriented organizations. Football club of Barcelona is one of the foremost organizations who had adopted some social initiatives to create standards in the society by favoring the social environment. There will be a discussion of theoretical approaches of corporate social responsibility, company background, and corporate social report analysis and company criticism.

Theoretical Background

There are various theories of corporate social responsibility that are developed to provide a hand to the organizations which are eager to attain a positive position in the mind of the target market. Corporate social responsibility is related to the obligation an organization has for the society. The CSR theories state that it is the obligation of organizations to perform their business operations by keeping the view of stakeholders. It is expected from the organizations to be socially responsible. CSR is a strategic necessity that is considered as a critical success factor for the organization (Corporate Social Responsibility 2009). There are mainly four theories of CSR, which are applied by the organizations to develop image of a socially oriented firm. These are as follow: Instrumental theory: According to this theory of CSR, firms are viewed as an instrument for the generation of wealth only. The social activities performed by the organizations are aimed to attain the expected economic outcomes, which are totally oriented towards wealth creation. After a number of examinations, this theory of CSR is placed into the domain of valid theory. It establishes a relationship between the CSR policies and the economic results. It favors the use of social activities for the attainment of economic objectives of wealth maximization. It applies mainly three approaches that are maximization of shareholders value, strategies for attaining competitive advantage and marketing related to cause. First approach states that social investment should be done for attaining the competitive advantage. Second approach favors that focus of the corporation should be on the natural resources and their competency. Third approach emphasizes that it is essential for the organizations to use the social activities for improving their competitive position in the respective market which further can contribute them to improve the wealth of their stakeholders. Altruistic activities should be performed by the firm (Ismail 2009). Political theory: According to this theory, corporations should use their power in the political field. It states that firms have a powerful status in society, which is entitled to use the power in a responsible way. It also has three main approaches that are corporate constitutionalism, integrative social contract and corporate citizenship, which are directed to different tools. Corporate constitutionalism argues that all the social responsibilities and authorities are the result of social power, which is occupied by the corporations. Second approach states that social contract is a bond between the firm and society. This contract is based on the duties organizations have for the society for which it also attains a lot in terms of profitability and reputation. Corporate citizenship approach argues that corporations are similar to citizens who have some responsibilities for the society into which they reside (Nelgadde March 2010). Integrative theory: This theory states that main aim of organizations should be focused on the satisfaction of requirements of society. It has chiefly four approaches: management issue, public responsibility, stakeholder management and corporate social performance, which are aimed to fulfill the social demands. First approach is related to the response of organizations to the political and social issues. By responding to the issues encountered by political and social environment, an organization can perform its public responsibility effectively. Second approach states the use of public policies and legal rules to locate the society. Third approach is related to the stakeholder management that is aimed to balance the identified interests of all key members of the stakeholder group. Corporate social performance states that corporation should identify some process and social legitimacy to respond to the social issues and needs. Only after searching the social issues and demands, it is possible for the companies to fulfill the unmet needs of society. Ethical theory: This theory of CSR states that corporations should focus over the right paths to create a good society. It also has four approaches that are stakeholder normative theory, universal rights, sustainable development and common good. The first approach states that corporations should perform some fiduciary duties towards the stakeholders. For this, a firm should apply the moral theories. The next approach states that company should consider rights of human, labor and environment for working in an ethical manner. Sustainable development focuses on the development of human beings by considering their current and potential generations. There are some pragmatic models of CSR, which are based on socially oriented approaches. These are as follows: Model 1: According to first model, CSR is a set of some specific activities, which consist of philanthropic and charitable donations, advancement of religious, racial and gender diversity at workplace and human rights, environment and safety. All these activities should be performed for the society and its welfare. It is an obligation of a firm to consider the key activities which are aimed to deliver some helpful hands to the society at a whole. Model 2: This model states that business ethics are considered as a main dimension of CSR. It mainly focuses on the issues of stakeholders and emphasizes some traditionally linked areas to ensure the compliance with the ethical code of conducts. It also focuses on the key aspects related to business ethics that are bribery, antitrust issues, dubious sales, deceit and pricing policies. It favors the ethical conducts which are aimed to perform the business activities in an ethical manner along with the fulfillment of stakeholder’s requirements (Legal Perspectives on Corporate Social Responsibility January 2010). Model 3: According to this model, activities and business procedure of the corporate have a combined feature of socially responsible behavior that is favorable to the stakeholders. Behavior of a firm is the mirror of corporate social responsibility, which should be maintained through some ethical activities by the firms in order to develop a positive image in front of the target market (Jennings 2004). These are some pertinent theories and models of corporate social responsibility (CSR) which should be considered by the organizations which are interested in developing a positive reputation in the eye of customers. According to these theories and models of CSR, organizations should invest their resources for ensuring the standards set by CSR. Framework provided by CSR theories and model is in favor of constructing a better world by showing proper response to the stakeholders needs (Fang, Huang and Huang January 2010).

Company Background

Football club Barcelona is the most attractive and favorite club among the lovers of the game. It was founded in 1899. The organization has experienced many ups and downs during its records, which reflect the period of its success along with some failures. It is commonly known as Barca for its efforts to sustain a distinctive identity. The organization has a functional form of organizational structure that is known for its supremacy in terms of its competent management. The top management of the company consists of a management with a president and a vice president. Management board of the organization met on a continuous basic to give their advice to the president. President of the organization performs the task of developing sport decisions. There are four departments under the vice president which are the institutional, operations, marketing and media and social areas. Under the vice president, there is a general manager who is entitled to communicate the vice president about the policies and performance. General Manager of the organization performs the tasks related to legal services, marketing, finance, social, sections, soccer and service. In the section part of the organization, there are basketball, hockey, handball and non profitable sports. To manage the fans, the management applies various tools, which are aimed to deliver some awesome results to the fans. The organization has a player farm system in which it develops players. To scout, identify and develop talent is the main objective of the player farm system. It has a team of professional players who are well skilled and experienced. To spot the young talent, the organization had developed a school for the identified people. This school has all the necessary facilities required by the students to accomplish their training in a smooth manner. The organization hires talented students for their professional development. It offers various products and services that are phone, email services, mobile information, new game package, and e-newsletter. In terms of marketing, the organization manages it operations to maintain the level of supremacy in the soccer world. It had developed a new and striking marketing campaign that is aimed to deliver a promising message to the fans that always wait for a good performance from the club. The organization developed new pricing strategy to generate additional revenues for its operations. To soften the price rise, it had also revamped the free seat services for the fans. In order to hold a level of superiority in the minds of fans, the organization also modified its stadium to give them paramount experiences. Its marketing team work always hard to maintain its economic relationships with the media, which plays a major role in developing its fame and eminence. Marketing and merchandising efforts of the company are known for their uniqueness. There is no logo on the shirts of the players, which reflect a purity of its sport strategy. It believes that rather than selling the sponsorship, it should be donated for the welfare of society. Its merchandising is the higher growth part for the club. Furthermore, the organization put social dimensions in the marketing efforts which are the key driver of its phenomenal success.

Analysis of Corporate Social responsibility

There are various stakeholders of the company, which have different interest and values. Main stakeholders like government, citizens, suppliers and players are well pleased by the organization through its promising tactics. To fulfill the requirements of stakeholders, the organization has taken some strategic steps. These are as follow: Foundation: Football Club Barcelona had developed a foundation to support the activities at the global level, which are aimed to fulfill the unmet needs of stakeholders in an effective manner. To support the educational, cultural and social activities is the main aim of the foundation that delivered some credibility to its stakeholders. Demands of stakeholder are effectively fulfilled by the foundation which resulted into its improved social identity at the international level. To fulfill the demands of citizens, the foundation has developed some initiative like training to the identified talent of youth interested in this particular sport. The members of the foundation have performed the cooperative acts and events with their fuller enthusiasm, which shows their coordination with the foundation to complete the task of social welfare activities. The objective of the foundation is to promote the values among children like compassion, tolerance and respect at the educational and personal level in order to meet the unidentified demands of the people (Roy 2008). Sponsorship: The Company has also developed sponsorship with some non profit organizations to provide a help to the government in clearing its heavy debts. Through this foundation, the company provided a positive response to its stakeholder. With this initiative, the reputation and corporate image of the company have enhanced in a remarkable way, which provided it with a new platform on the global base. All the key stakeholders of the organization have increased their interaction to show their satisfaction for the services provided by the company. The company has taken many socially responsible activities, which are aimed to fulfill its stated goals and objectives of developing an emblematic social atmosphere. There is lot of charity work the company has performed just to show its concern for the society it values the most. To create a healthy and wealthy society, it has taken some strategic steps, which are aimed to deliver some awesome outcomes on the part of people living in different communities. It is also reflected from its corporate social responsibility that due to its distinctive commitment for the society, it is recognized more than a club in the society. To boost healthy environment for the children who are facing issues related to some vulnerable diseases is the main objective of this foundation. To develop a culture which includes civilian values is another objective of the company which reflects its commitment for the society as a whole. The foundation of the organization is also committed to provide assistance to the veteran players who are an important part of the club. In 2006, the company had changed its identity from an organization to social identity in the form of a club (Mission and Objectives). The company has developed alliance with some famous non profit organizations to provide a helpful hand to the needy people across the world. The company had developed its alliance with the millennium objectives of United Nations to support the vulnerable children. These are as follow: UNICEF: UNICEF is the non profit organization with which the company had established an alliance to help the needy children. The company had developed its alliance to provide a helping hand to those children who are facing issues due to diseases like AIDS. It reflects the concern of the foundation. The company had developed some objectives to accomplish the goals of some integrated projects decided by UNICEF. The project developed by the foundation and UNICEF is aimed to provide benefits to the vulnerable children across the nation that is the prominent step taken by the club. The main objectives of the global alliance are to minimize the extreme level of hunger and poverty, to manage the mortality rate of children, stop the epidemic of diseases like AIDS/HIV, increase gender equality and boost environmental sustainability at the worldwide level (Mission and Objectives). The organization has taken some steps to achieve the stated goals and objectives. To support the programs and projects, the company has decided to donate approximately 1.5 euros of its income annually to UNICEF. The foundation of the club with the help of UNICEF had developed some plans for the children of Swaziland, who are suffering from the problem of AIDS/HIV. It shows the zeal of the company to halt the progress of this epidemic as soon as possible. The foundation of the club is also eager to help those communities which are facing the issue of social exclusion that is again a social initiative taken by the company and expresses its willingness to do something different for those people who are in a real sense needy. According to the agreement, the foundation has received the permission of using the logo and name of UNICEF to promote its sports among the communities along with the aim of delivering the expected outcomes for the welfare of needy people.


It is another non profit organization with which the foundation has developed a global alliance to show its footprints in the socially responsible corporations. There are different goals and objectives of the alliance made by the foundation with UNESCO. The foundation has made the collaboration to handle the increasing violence and racism in the area of sports, to remove doping, and to promote literacy teaching and education for the children. To accomplish the stated objective of removing racism, and violence, it has planned to boost positive values among the players in order to keep them away from the violence. To handle the issue of doping, the foundation along with the help of UNESCO developed some educational programs to make the players aware about the doping cases in order to halt them in engaging in these kinds of illegal acts. To accomplish the goals of education and literacy need, the company had developed some educational programs to literate the defenseless children at the global level, which is again a conscious move of the foundation to help the needy people. It is also identified from the initiatives taken by the foundation of the club that to fulfill the stated goals, it had invested its valuable resources (Mission and Objectives). It has also planned to engage in the celebration of some special days like the international literacy day to support the educational programs with its fuller dedication and zeal. To handle the issues related to the educational and violence, the foundation has developed some strong tactics with the firm which are considered as a milestone in the history of socially responsible activities. The foundation has put its efforts to attain the stated objectives of delivering its best to meet out the targets set in the agreement with UNESCO. The foundation has also developed a program called sports and civic activity that is aimed to deliver the awesome outcomes. For the proper administration of planned activities, the foundation has planned to explore the social and educational potential of sports. All these initiatives taken by the club foundation reflect its major concern or commitment for the consolidation of the strategies aimed to deliver the expected results to the society in order to create a credible society. It shows dedication of the foundation towards the development of socially responsible corporate image of the company at the global level. These steps reflect that the company has also performed its thriving part in the generation of some values for the society that express the increasing concern of the foundation for the society. The foundation has been engaged in those activities which are the main requirement for the present state of condition. UNHCR: In the series of socially responsible acts, the foundation has also developed its global alliance with UNHCR to fulfill the unmet needs of the citizens in order to develop a healthy and wealthy environment for the citizens. The foundation has developed an agreement for three years with this non profit organization to provide a helpful hand to the needy people in order to give them a shadow of its huge base. The main concern of the foundation is to enhance an understanding in the society about the refugees scattered across the world and emphasize the pivotal role of sports, which can act as a huge resource for education of the society on a whole. It has signed a partnership with UNHCR in 2008 with the intent of developing a favorable condition for those people who are unsheltered still due to some hidden reasons. The foundation has developed such a kind of partnership to utilize or employ sports as a means for social interaction in order to create interest among the community about the refugees. The foundation has engaged in the collaboration to provide its shelter in an indirect manner to those people who are wandering from country to country just to attain a shelter for their living. To create awareness among the society in relation to the sate of refugees, the foundation has committed to investing its valuable resources, which are essential to accomplish a stated task of doing such a kind of socially responsible activities (Mission and Objectives). All these sponsorship and partnership programs taken by the foundation show its overwhelming concern for the society and especially for the vulnerable children who are still suffering from the critical issues. To transform the standards of living of people scattered across the world, the organization has invested its resources into the charitable activities that resulted into the enhanced or improved position of the persons targeted for the socially responsible behavior. In order to provide a helpful hand to the needy people, the foundation has performed something additional that is not possible to follow by everyone engaged in such kinds of social responsible activities (Mission and Objectives). It has also taken steps to normalize the social life of people with disabilities, which reflect its zeal to boost the health and wealth of needy people. The company has enhanced its position as a socially responsible corporation. The company has increased its initiatives to give a base to the needy people who are in a real sense in a position to avail the helping services of the foundation. The foundation is aimed to deliver its help to each and everyone like youngsters, children, women and elder ones, which expresses its endeavor to create a favorable condition for those who are helpless in terms of even earning the sources for proper living. To promote health at the global level the company has been engaged into some socially responsible activities. All the efforts put by the foundation to create a sustainable environment for communities across the world show its height of incredible concern it has for the poor and helpless people at the global level.

Company Criticism

The company is committed for its stakeholders, which can be seen from its corporate social responsibility report, which is the sign of its overall concern for the society into which it operates its business. The company had made some tremendous contributions for the society as well as its business concern. Main motive of the company is to maintain sustainability and its planned operations, which are aimed to deliver awesome results to the society. The company had developed some initiatives for the society which are credible in terms of their implications (Rodriguez and LeMaster 2007). Due to its efforts for social welfare, it is known in the eyes of fans more than a simpler club. It has some social dimensions, which reflect its contribution for the society. It has embedded social values in its business philanthropy effectively, which is in the real sense a sign of a great thinker. For the club, victory is the vindication of the members the fulfillment of the expectations of its fans (Barth and Wolff 2009). The company has always put its emphasis on the key stakeholder by developing strategies favorable to them. The measures taken by the company are as follow:

Sponsorship with NGO’s:

The Company has made sponsorship with the non profit organizations, which are working for the social welfare. In 2006, it had developed a partnership with UNICEF to support the vulnerable children who are suffering from serious diseases like AIDS. With UNICEF, it had started its partnership as a joint project to provide a helpful hand to those children who are suffering from HIV/AIDS. To endorse UNICEF in the world, the company had also abandoned a corporate emblem that can be considered as an in-depth approach to fulfill the stated partnership objectives. It had used its sponsorship programs to donate the countries struggling with the issue of vulnerable diseases, which is a great effort. It had also made partnership with UNHCR in 2006 to support the refugee children through sports. The players of the club have also implemented their efforts to put a touch of happiness among the children suffering from vulnerable diseases. Apart from this, it had also developed partnership with UNESCO in November 2007 (UNHCR and Barcelona Football Club launch partnership to help refugee children through sport 2008).

Barcelona Foundation:

The club is famous for its contributions and efforts for the society which can be placed at the level of public recognition. For helping the education, society, culture, the foundation of the club had donated a considerably part of its income, which is its helpful hand in terms of corporate socially responsible behavior. The foundation engages in social, cultural and economical activities to support the society that is again its concern for society. To support the society, the company had taken various initiatives on the part of society to ensure that the needy people are getting the benefits of its initiatives in terms of CSR. All the activities of this foundation are aimed to deliver awesome results to the society in order to fulfill their social demands in a favorable manner.


The organization also has the membership of ECOSOC (Economic and Social Council of United States). The mission behind this membership is its zeal to create an emblematic social model with the help of its sponsorship activities. It can be judged by this CSR measure that up to which extent the company wants to prove its fundamental role in constructing a wealthy society at the global level (Roy 2008).

Agreement with telecommunication:

The Company also established agreement with a telecom company that is Etisalat to provide its support at the worldwide level in order to leverage the sponsorship income for the society. It is a commercial agreement along with sponsorship to support the FCB foundation that is committed for the social welfare to reflect its interest in CSR initiatives. It is the biggest contract between these two different entities which shows the enthusiasm of the company to support the socially oriented activities (Etisalat is new Premium Sponsor 2009). By analyzing this agreement, it can be inferred that the company is highly committed for helping the needy one through its income that is generated with the help of sponsorship programs, as most of the fans have always the eagerness to watch the matches of this philanthropic club. All these key measures adopted by the company reflect the concern the company has for society. The company had effectively performed its role to accomplish the stated goals of ensuring the construction of a socially responsible environment. The company is committed to ensuring that each needy child gets the required level of help for sustaining his life in a viable manner. Consolidation and alliance of the organization with other nonprofit entities reflect its concern for the vulnerable children that in a real sense is an appreciable step by the company. Additionally, the company has developed some advertising campaigns to manage the disasters faced by the people across the world.


From the above discussion over Football club Barcelona, it can be inferred that the organization is a socially responsible organization. It has maintained its corporate socially responsible behavior in such a manner that it has positioned itself as a distinctive entity that is more than a club for the fans. The organization has adopted all the tools and strategies, which are essential to develop a positive image in the mindset of people. Management of the company has sustained its business philanthropy that is focused over the social values. It has developed its reputation as a socially concerned organization which values sports more than others. Organizational structure of the firm is well managed due to which it has performed some path-breaking activities in its career. Marketing initiatives taken by the organization denote its concern for the society also, which shows its consideration for all the stakeholders who are valuable for its long term existence. It had taken some promising measures to fulfill the unmet needs of society, which assisted it to create remarkable footprints in the world of soccer. Management of the company developed some favorable strategies for the benefit of business as well society that transformed it from an average player into a market leader across the globe. Steps taken by the company were positively criticized across the boarder which established some new benchmarks for other football clubs at a large level. It is the only football club, which is known more than a club among the fans. To provide a support to the disable people, the company had developed a partnership with some non profit organization. The company had made its business in such a manner that delivered it as a most favorite club in minds of its fans, which decide the credibility of any club. Each of the company acts was oriented towards the fulfillment of needs of social and cultural environment. To develop an image of a social friendly company, it is essential for a company to take some strategic initiatives, which are not totally oriented towards the maximization of profitability. Organizations should take care about the social concern, as it is an unavoidable part of corporations. It is true that main goal of any business is to generate revenue, and at the same time, to please all the stakeholders is the main responsibility of an organization which should be considered while developing strategies. Market image is considered as an important aspect which if not maintained by the organization can result into the huge loss in terms of business, which is heavily dependent over the target market. To sustain market reputation, it is essential for the organization to perform ethical conducts only, which are aimed to satisfy the social demands with fuller dedication. All the duties and obligations prescribed by the CSR theories and models should be considered by the organizations to create a positive corporate image in the minds of the target market.


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