Corporate social responsibility is the principle that a corporation does not have, at its core, the mere acquisition of profit as a goal. Instead, corporate social responsibility as an idea leads to the notion that a corporation has some level of responsibility to society, and thus, should not pursue profit at the cost of all else. This corporate social responsibility definition is relatively open to interpretation, as principles of corporate responsibility might crop up in a number of different ways within a given corporation.
One of the most obvious ways in which the corporate social responsibility definition might be evidenced in a corporation is with some form of code of ethics or morals to which the corporation holds itself consistently such that it will never act in violation of the principles of corporate responsibility to society and the world.
In general, the corporate social responsibility definition is best exemplified in the notion of avoiding certain practices which are legal, but which are nonetheless damaging and detrimental to society. The corporate social responsibility definition starts from an assumed point at which the corporation under examination does not take illegal actions, and thus, the only actions worth examining are legal actions.
The principles of corporate responsibility to society and to people are not always upheld as definitively good, as many critics of corporate social responsibility see its principles as undermining the fundamental basis inherent in corporations. These individuals see that principles of corporate responsibility do not actually substantively affect corporate practice, or if they do, that they very much prevent a corporation from fulfilling what should be its actual goal: the acquisition of profit for share and stakeholders.