The social irresponsibility of international business: A novel conceptualization

Elisa Giuliani, Chiara Macchi, Davide Fiaschi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose - This chapter develops a novel conceptualization of corporate social irresponsibility (CSI) and identifies possible avenues for further research in the international business (IB) and related fields. Design/methodology/approach - A conceptual chapter examining the existing definitions of CSI and proposing a classification of irresponsible behaviours using an international law approach. Findings - The concept of CSI has been weakly conceptualized and measured so far. We improve this by distinguishing between unethical conduct bearing no direct impact on human rights and those behaviours that do entail a human rights impact. Next, we classify human rights abuses in two categories based on whether they entail the violation of a derogable or a non-derogable human right. Finally, we make a distinction between direct and indirect irresponsible actions. These distinctions are also illustrated empirically. Originality/value - This chapter bridges the gap between IB, management and international law research on human rights or else defined irresponsible behaviours. Our novel conceptualization of CSI can help to better address unanswered questions about factors driving CSI in IB firms.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Business and Sustainable Development
EditorsR. Van Tulder, A. Verbeke, R. Strange
ISBN (Electronic)9781781909904
ISBN (Print)9781781909898
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameProgress in International Business Research
ISSN (Print)1745-8862


  • Corporate social irresponsibility
  • Human rights abuses
  • International business
  • Multinational enterprises (MNEs)
  • Unethical conduct


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