Carroll, Archie “The Pyramid of Corporate Social Responsibility: Toward the Moral Management of Organizational Stakeholders.”


This article intends to review Archie Carroll’s article titled “The Pyramid of Corporate Social Responsibility: Toward the Moral Management of Organizational Stakeholders”.

The main point of focus for this review will include background information about the article, a summary of the key points highlighted in the article as well as undertaking a critical evaluation of the article with particular emphasis on how well the article achieves its goals, possibilities suggested by the article and personal experiences that can relate to the article.

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The main agenda of Carroll’s article revolves around creating awareness for corporate social responsibility (CSR). To generate a better understanding of this subject, Carroll has identified the various components of CSR and developed a pyramid that indicates how these components are inter-linked as well as their position from a hierarchical perspective.

Further, Carroll has linked the concept of corporate social responsibility to stakeholders and the role of managers towards actualizing the four components (Carroll 39). This article is enlightening in that it creates more awareness and advocates for CSR.

Background information

The importance of corporate social responsibility has gained momentum over the years as it plays a crucial role in determining the success or failure of any given organization. This has been attributed to the fact that, with time, the society has become more aware of organization’s responsibilities as it appertains to the rule of law. The criteria for judging Carroll’s article will include the ability of the article to capture the themes presented, article presentation and the evidence presented.


In a synopsis, Carroll’s article, in his quest to present his arguments on CSR, has vividly traced the origin of CSR back to the 1970s as the rights and claims of the society with regards to the conducts of organizations when it was apparent that “environment, employees, and consumers to be significant and legitimate stakeholders of business” (Carroll 39).

Carroll has further elaborated on the evolution of the concept of corporate social responsibility in terms of definition and he asserts that the most salient aspect of the definition “is what managers do with these ideas in terms of implementation” (40).

For purposes of building on the understanding of the different components of CSR, Carroll has come up with a pyramid that identifies four components from the most basic as follows: economic, legal, ethical and philanthropic (40-42). According to Carroll, for any business to attain a significant level of CSR, the organization must exercise justice and fairness with the aim of improving the quality of life for all stakeholders. And as such, “The CSR firm should strive to make a profit, obey the law, be ethical, and be a good corporate citizen” (43).

In his quest to link the CSR and firms stakeholders, Carroll has highlighted two sets of stakeholders by virtue of their influence on the company in terms of legitimacy or power. Carroll argues that the most difficult task towards actualization of CSR is merging the needs and claims of all stakeholders without compromising on the four components of CSR.

Carroll further asserts that, to properly manage the needs of all the stakeholders, it is necessary for the organization to know the nature and the stakes that each stakeholder presents, challenges posed by each and to what extent does the organization owe its stakeholders CSR (43-44).

The role of managers towards implementation of CSR has been emphasized by Carroll through identifying and expounding on three moral types associated with management. In this article, Carroll asserts that management skills can be classified as “Immoral, amoral and moral management” (44). According to Carroll, immoral management skills are contradictory to the rule of law and moral ethics, amoral management skills are in accordance with the law while moral management skills go beyond what is required by the law (44-45).

Critical Evaluation

Carroll’s article has meticulously achieved its goal of explaining and advocating for the different components of CSR, the link between CSR and stakeholders and proper management skills that are essential for implementation of CSR.

By using elaborate explanations and providing a point form of the same, Carroll was able to help his audience understand and internalize his themes and concepts. The use of diagrams was also a well though idea as it made his work more visual and presentable. Further, to build on internal validity and consistency of his concepts and explanations, Carroll has used numerous examples.

Throughout the article, Carroll has repeatedly suggested that it is important for every firm to develop a CSR that ensures the company still remains profitable, operates within the requirements of the law, has ethical values that ensure fairness for all its stakeholders and that they embrace a philanthropic outlook that seeks to improve the living standards of their stakeholders and the community at large (40-44).

Carroll concludes the article by suggesting that all managers should strive towards ensuring that their management skills are moral and humane in order to continue with the spirit of the CSR concept.

Based on my own experience as a consumer of many products, I can ascertain that more and more organizations are coming up with strategies aimed at ensuring that their consumers associate with their CSR projects.

For instance, I regularly consume Coca cola beverages and I have keenly observed that most of their plastic bottled products have a sign directing the customer on where to dispose the used bottles so as to conserve the environment. This is a form of CSR that ensures environmental sustainability as advocated for in Carroll’s article.


In my view, Carroll has presented a brilliant article that seeks to create more awareness for CSR concepts and their applicability with reference to stakeholder’s claims and management strategies. This article advocates for a morally right management system that ensures continuous profitability of a firm and consequently its success in the current business world. This article was well thought of and carefully presented and hence I highly recommend it to any individual who holds a management role in their organizations.


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