Martin Parker

The problem is that business ethics and corporate social responsibility are subjects used as window dressing in the marketing of the business school, and as a fig leaf to cover the conscience of B-school deans – as if talking about ethics and responsibility were the same as doing something about it. They almost never systematically address the simple idea that since current social and economic … [ Read more ]

Column: What’s Wrong with the Harvard Business School and American Business

Professor emeritus Bruce Scott was a pioneer at the Harvard Business School, where he insisted that management training had to include the big picture, and helped craft the school’s now-mandatory MBA course, Business and Government in the International Economy (known colloquially as BGIE or “Biggie”) back in the 1970s.
 
Harvard Business School is the subject of journalist Duff McDonald’s new book, The Golden Passport, which examines … [ Read more ]

Take 5: How Companies Benefit from Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate social responsibility has been a buzzword for a while. And it’s not hard to see how communities stand to benefit when firms are serious about CSR—be it by participating in a clean water campaign or having a large philanthropic presence.

But what about the firms themselves? How does doing good affect their bottom line? Here, Kellogg faculty share research and perspectives into how companies can … [ Read more ]

Tima Bansal, Mark DesJardine

The common approach to corporate social responsibility is grounded in ethics, morality and norms. And there is no question that many CSR initiatives are good at balancing competing demands made by shareholders and other stakeholders. To do this, however, many supposedly responsible firms borrow resources and capital from the future, which can magnify the imbalance in the distribution of resources between the short and long … [ Read more ]

The Right Way for Companies to Publicize Their Social Responsibility Efforts

It’s a common complaint. Companies keep trying to show the world that they are socially conscious and keep losing the battle. A major reason companies don’t get credit for their good works is they employ a one-size-fits-all strategy to communicating their efforts, while what’s needed are focused messages that matter to each of their four different audiences:

  1. Corporate watchdogs such as social media activists, NGOs,

[ Read more ]

Paying for CSR is Good Governance

More and more firms today are including incentives for corporate social responsibility (CSR) in their executive compensation contracts. But is this a worthwhile practice? Who benefits from it? Recent research shows a link between CSR activities and better social performance and the bottom line. But is paying for CSR beneficial for shareholder interests? Accounting and stock-price performance incentives are already common in executive compensation contracts … [ Read more ]

The CEO as Activist

Duke professor Aaron Chatterji believes business leaders have social and political responsibilities they can’t afford to neglect.

Jasjit Singh, Christiane Bode

Sceptics argue that enshrining social impact as a core value contradicts the basic nature of a for-profit enterprise. They insist that social concerns should stay separate from, and secondary to, primary business needs.

One compelling counter-argument is that while the common good may not always be a top business priority, attracting and retaining top talent absolutely is. And valued employees—like human beings in general—love to feel … [ Read more ]

Ezra Greenberg, Martin Hirt, Sven Smit

Business leaders typically spend about 30 percent of their time on external engagement, but by their own assessment, few do so effectively. For more business leaders to “step up to the plate” and “play a key role in driving solutions,” they will need to do more to embed society’s concerns in their business priorities, to make external engagement an integral part of their strategy, and … [ Read more ]

Social Entrepreneurship by the Billions

An audacious effort to provide digital ID numbers throughout India illustrates the potential for large-scale change.

Why Green is the New Gold

By turning sustainability initiatives into drivers of measurable value, some CEOs are outperforming their peers and forging a path for others to follow.

Corporate Digital Responsibility: Doing Well by Doing Good

Accenture has identified five principles that will increasingly define what it means to be a responsible business in the digital economy. Companies that understand and take action on these principles will be positioned not only to manage today’s challenges but also to differentiate themselves for growth in the future.

Circular Advantage: Innovative Business Models and Technologies that Create Value

Accenture research shows that leading organizations are now adopting circular economy models—decoupling growth from scarce resources and, thus, gaining a competitive edge (what we call a circular advantage).

We are rapidly approaching a point where the linear growth model is no longer viable for companies. This is due to the rising global affluence, the inability of many nonrenewable resources to keep up with demand, the strained … [ Read more ]

Natalia Karelaia

We found that individuals with a high sense of social connectedness felt their individual actions would generate a greater impact on a larger scale and, as a result, tended to be the most socially conscious consumers. Overall, the social values self-reported by the respondents were a less reliable predictor of behavior than the feeling that they, as individuals, could make a difference. This result is … [ Read more ]

Getting the Most Out of Your Sustainability Program

Sustainability initiatives won’t create lasting value if they’re poorly managed. Here are four lessons from companies that are doing it right.

The Inside Story of Facebook’s Biggest Setback

The social network had a grand plan to connect millions of Indians to the internet. Here’s how it all went wrong.

Are You Ready for the Resource Revolution?

Meeting increasing global demand requires dramatically improving resource productivity. Yet technological advances mean companies have an extraordinary opportunity not only to meet that challenge but to spark the next industrial revolution as well.

Kathy Nieland

If you want to reduce the amount of waste from packaging that goes to landfills, you can move incrementally. But now you need to actually optimize things at a higher level. Like, why do you need packaging at all? Do you just need it to protect the product or is it a marketing consideration for distinguishing your products from those of your competitors? Maybe you … [ Read more ]

Dick Martin

Understanding the ways and whys of people unlike yourself is key to winning and keeping customers, managing today’s workforce, and relating to all the third-party activists who have an increasingly influential voice in where and how a company does business.

Christine Bader

People ask me, “Should I take this CSR job? Will I be doing real work, or will I just be ordering matching T-shirts for people to go paint a wall?” And what you have to do is step back and ask, What are this company’s ten or five or three greatest tensions with society, and is this job working on any of those? If it’s … [ Read more ]