The study suggests that the prominent driving force behind corporate social responsibility (CSR) is companies’ long‐term profitability, supported by company leadership and efficiency, competitiveness, and the ability to anticipate the future. The long evolution of Finnish companies since the 18th century has created fertile ground for responsibility. Despite the absence of significant moral or ethical guidance, the thinking of the participating companies was for the most part business‐oriented. The management and organization of CSR appeared to be professional and efficient. CSR was found to be optimal at the highest level of the organizations studied, and the commitment of the top management unquestionable. The present status of CSR seemed to exist more on the theoretical than the practical level. Implementation was seen as a major challenge for the future. The jungle of standards and measurement instruments is a serious problem. Communication was narrowly viewed and technical, and the prevailing paradigm was rather mechanistic.
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