Advancements in fundamental technologies such as Artificial Intelligence enable a new generation of digital products and services. This new generation of digital products and services is more intelligent, complex, and autonomous than ever before (Baird and Maruping 2021). It can adapt to various contexts to better fit the needs of the user. Further, the new generation of products and services can easily be combined with other technologies and vast amounts of data to create even more sophisticated and complex digital products and service networks. Thus, the new generation of products and services can significantly improve individuals’ lives and generate unique business opportunities. At the same time, it can also instigate novel ethical, legal, and social issues (Berente et al. 2021). Within this context, the concept of Corporate Digital Responsibility (CDR) has emerged.
CDR articulates companies’ extended responsibilities regarding the new opportunities and challenges that technology development and use can bring (Herden et al. 2021). At its core, CDR is related to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). In essence, both concepts summarize the obligations that companies have toward society. Moreover, both concepts aim at minimizing the adverse effects of practice activities while maximizing the benefits of a firms’ activities. Given these similarities, two legitimate questions arise: Why do we need CDR in addition to CSR? Does not the established CSR concept cover CDR as well?
As a corollary of these questions, there are two possible views on CDR: On the one hand, we can view CDR as an extension of CSR and argue that CDR reflects, in essence, similar social and sustainability responsibilities as CSR (Herden et al. 2021). On the other hand, there are also various compelling reasons for perceiving CDR as a separate albeit interrelated concept to CSR (Elliott et al. 2021; Lobschat et al. 2021). Without aiming to lead a conclusive discussion and final verdict on whether CDR is an extension to CSR (Herden et al. 2021) or a distinct concept (Elliott et al. 2021; Lobschat et al. 2021), in the following, we present various reasons why we should bestow separate research efforts on CDR.