Despite a significant increase in research and practise linking corporate social responsibility (CSR) and human resource management (HRM), a comprehensive examination of the relationship between these two constructs has yet to be undertaken. Scholars associating CSR and HRM rarely explicate their understanding of the connection between CSR and HRM (CSR–HRM) or the assumptions they make when exploring this relationship. Thus, we argue that a comprehensive review of the literature of the CSR–HRM nexus is relevant and necessary. Such a review would allow scholars to reach more explicit and comprehensive understandings of CSR–HRM, and enhance research both theoretically and empirically. We address this endeavour by means of a systematic review and conceptual analysis of past and current writings linking CSR and HRM, based on key themes and meta-theoretical commitments at the intersection of CSR–HRM. We propose three theoretical perspectives that can be used to conceptualize CSR–HRM: instrumental, social integrative and political. We elaborate on the potential these three approaches hold for research in the field of CSR–HRM. The contribution of this paper is to expose the diversity of understandings of CSR–HRM and provide a conceptual map for navigating and planning further research.