As fully‐socialised beings, all human experience is characterised by communication and primarily facilitated by language. Every society seeks legitimation for its ideologies and practices and it legitimates itself chiefly through language. When employed as an instrument of governance, it can bring about social cohesion, also has the power to cause disintegration when consensus is absent, and can have serious consequences when its constituent parts are dismembered. This paper addresses the context in which value‐attribution and labelling takes place and examines the idea of CSR in terms of its lexicology or theoretical lexicography. In particular, the demands and imperatives incumbent on the word responsibility are explored according to its use as part of language, discourse and most significantly as a referent within the expression, corporate social responsibility. In the first part, it is suggested that this approach may provide clues as to the alleged failure, in spite of recent national and international endeavours, to provide any useful universal framework for ethically‐sound corporate behaviour. The second part constitutes a tentative inquiry into whether an alternative to the word responsibility might produce a better result. To this end, a specific definition of the word love is posited as a substitute or at the very least, acknowledged as a worthy driving force for responsible corporate citizenship.
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