The CSR Newsletters are a freely-available resource generated as a dynamic complement to the textbook, Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility: Sustainable Value Creation.

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Strategic CSR - Welcome back!

Welcome back to the Strategic CSR Newsletter!
The first Newsletter for the Spring semester is below.
As always, your comments and ideas are welcome.
Over the break, I read the foundational 1953 book by Howard Bowen, Social Responsibilities of the Businessman. Two thoughts struck me—reading the book was both uplifting and depressing, essentially for the same reason.
First, the process was uplifting because of how prescient Bowen was in identifying trends and proposing answers to issues that we still debate. Much of what he wrote in 1953 would not have looked out of place in a policy proposal or opinion paper published today. It may be that, if more people had just read Bowen’s book, a lot of the debate in the intervening period could have been circumvented.
Second, the process was depressing because we still do not have widely-agreed upon answers to the questions that Bowen (and others, such as Frank Abrams, see: Abrams, F. W. 1951. Management's Responsibilities in a Complex World. Harvard Business Review, 29(3): 29-34) were asking 60 years ago. Here is one example (the book is littered with similar ideas):
“The day of plunder, human exploitation, and financial chicanery by private businessmen [sic] has largely passed. And the day when profit maximization was the sole criterion of business success is rapidly fading. We are entering an era when private business will be judged solely in terms of its demonstrable contribution to the general welfare.” (p52)
Of course, the constant ‘reinventing of the wheel’ is great because it keeps us all in a job; but it would be nice to at least feel like we are making progress after so much effort.
Take care
David Chandler & Bill Werther
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