Towards holistic understanding of socially responsible provision of public goods: conceptual foundations

Rita Vilke (Department of Rural Development, Lithuanian Institute of Agrarian Economics, Vilnius, Lithuania)

Social Responsibility Journal

ISSN: 1747-1117

Publication date: 4 February 2019



This paper aims to explain a conceptual background for an emerging agrarian discourse in corporate social responsibility (CSR) research. Socially responsible provision of public goods is examined by encompassing a shift in paradigms and approaches from the industrial phase of development with economic/profit dimension, emphasized by the theory of public goods, to the post-industrial phase of development with moral dimension, empowered by knowledge-based economy, sustainability and further development of the theory of CSR.


The paper sets the conceptual foundations for the holistic study of the two confronting conceptions of public goods and CSR by discussing their interconnectivity and distinctions of relevant approaches in the intersecting classical economics and sustainability fields.


Research results show that provision of public goods is still mainly debated from the classical economic paradigms. Nevertheless, author give promising evidence for the possibility to implement holistic studies on confronting economic and moral dimensions in the field of socially responsible provisions of public goods with use of appropriate theories and approaches from both paradigms depending on the context.

Research limitations/implications

This paper presents exceptionally theoretical insights and sophisticated explanations of the background of emerging agrarian discourse in CSR. It gives implications for further research in the field of socially responsible provision of public goods both from theoretical and empirical point of view.


The study proves the enlarged scope of the theory of CSR by conceptualizing the newly emerging discourse in the field, which has been absent from theoretical to empirical CSR research in agriculture.



Rita Vilke (2019) "Towards holistic understanding of socially responsible provision of public goods: conceptual foundations", Social Responsibility Journal, Vol. 15 No. 1, pp. 47-60

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