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abstract

Scholars in management and economics widely share the assumption that business firms focus on profits only, while it is the task of the state system to provide public goods. In this view business firms are conceived of as economic actors, and governments and their state agencies are considered the only political actors. We suggest that, under the conditions of globalization, the strict division of labour between private business and nation-state governance does not hold any more. Many business firms have started to assume social and political responsibilities that go beyond legal requirements and fill the regulatory vacuum in global governance. Our review of the literature shows that there are a growing number of publications from various disciplines that propose a politicized concept of corporate social responsibility. We consider the implications of this new perspective for theorizing about the business firm, governance, and democracy.