The purpose of this paper is to postulate, in addition to “moral” and “strategic” considerations, a third general standard for corporate social responsibility (CSR). That third approach is what moral philosophers call “virtue ethics.”
This paper uses a single organization case study of a Malaysian publisher to put forward the practice of virtuous CSR based on Islamic values and principles in a family business.
By focussing on creating or maintaining virtuous habits in the family and the firm, the family business has avoided the equally unrealistic notions that CSR must be entirely selfless or entirely strategic to be legitimate. Virtues that foster a successful strategy such as vision and competence can be enhanced rather than hindered by virtues such as integrity and generosity.
This is a case study of a single family. Nevertheless, this paper has implications for strategy and CSR for non-family business as well because it brings into the discussion virtue ethics which is largely absent from popular ethical discourse in the West, including popular discourse about business ethics and CSR.
While moral and strategic interests merit consideration, virtue is often the most important concern of all. Virtuous CSR aims to improve or at least preserve the character and the soul of the family and its enterprise.
This paper shows that in family business moral freedom and CSR do not have to be purchased at the expense of an effective business strategy. Paradoxically, an effective business strategy may be partly non-strategic and partly non-business – i.e. partly focussed on virtue. Further research may show that family business can be a leader in CSR, teaching managerial techniques to non-family business.
For assistance with this paper, the authors gratefully acknowledge Dato’ (Dr) Hussamuddin Haji Yaacob, Chairman/CEO/Managing Director of Karangkraf; Mohd Nasir Haji Hamzah, Deputy Chairman; Fikry Haji Yaacob, Past Chairman; Firdaus Hussamuddin, Executive Director; Syamil Fahim Mohd Fahim, Executive Director; Akmal Eirfan Mohd Fauzi, Executive Director; and Christine Heng, General Manager. Interviews were conducted at Karangkraf's Shah Alam office in November 2013. In addition, the authors acknowledge the contribution of Mr Mohd Yaziz Mohd Isa of Universiti Tun Abdul Razak for his involvement in a peduli project in 2013 involving Karangkraf, Universiti Tun Abdul Razak, and Babson College.
Funding: This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.
Yusof, M., Mohd Nor, L. and Edward Hoopes, J. (2014), "Virtuous CSR: an Islamic family business in Malaysia", Journal of Family Business Management, Vol. 4 No. 2, pp. 133-148. https://doi.org/10.1108/JFBM-07-2013-0016
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