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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Strategic CSR - Business Schools

The article in the url below announces the opening this year of a new business school (the “School of Business and Economics”) by the Catholic University of America. The School aims to implement a values-led curriculum, “infusing an education in strategy, accounting and marketing with instruction in morals, character and religious values”:
“Created in response to rising demand for business education, the program's virtues-based approach hinges on the idea that business is meant to foment social good and not just financial success; that's a departure from a traditional business education, which focuses mainly on how to maximize profits.”
More revealing is the over-arching relationship between business and society that the University says will underpin the education students receive:
“‘Business is supposed to be a service to society,’ says Andrew Abela, chair of the business and economics program, now housed in Catholic's School of Arts and Sciences and comprised mostly of undergraduate students.”
This approach becomes particularly interesting when you realize what it means for the content of specific classes:
“For example, accounting classes will stress judgment calls about what revenue can be kept off the books, along with the math behind those revenue calculations.”
Ultimately, why this approach is so revolutionary is that ethics/CSR is the starting point in the re-design of the business school. Rather than being an add-on or elective class that students can compartmentalize and then quickly forget after the semester ends, ethics and CSR are the common point of reference among all the classes the students will take:
“‘If it's just added on, it can just as easily be taken off when the student leaves,’ Mr. Abela says of existing ethics training.
Until we adopt that approach throughout mainstream business education, CSR (in terms of sustainable value creation) will continue to struggle to locate itself as the core function of the business.
Take care
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B-School Mixes Faith, Finance
By Melissa Korn
January 8, 2013
The Wall Street Journal
Late Edition – Final