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, August 20, 2014

Strategic CSR - Welcome back!

Welcome back to the Strategic CSR Newsletter!
The first CSR Newsletter of the Fall semester is below.
As always, your comments and ideas are welcome.
I hope you all had a good summer.
As we dive into a new semester, the article in the url below offers a positive (??) thought to start us off on the right note—a lesson in how to convey power and authority:
"… a study called 'Using Abstract Language Signals Power,' published this month in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, shows that projecting power is incredibly simple. Just communicate in abstractions. Details convey weakness. In one of the seven experiments, participants read quotes from a politician who described an earthquake as killing 120 and injuring 400; later, when he simply said it was a national tragedy, subjects thought he was a better leader."
I find that as I go through life, navigating the complexities of trying to formulate the social responsibilities of the for-profit firm, what strikes me is the need for less complexity. Clearly, it is a little taxing for humanity to deal with the complexities of climate science, economic theory, and human psychology—much easier to stick our heads in the sand and hope it will all get better before we die. As the author of the study succinctly (but unhelpfully) put it:
"'Being completely vague will just make you sound stupid,' she explains. 'Bulls––– is best when it has a kernel of truth in it.'"
Just what we need in life—even less complex reality and even more duplicitous simplicity. I'll have to remember to pass that on to my students. After all, there's nothing much at stake, right?
Looking forward to a productive semester filled with complexity!
David Chandler & Bill Werther
Instructor Teaching and Student Study Site:
Strategic CSR Simulation:
The library of CSR Newsletters are archived at:

How to get ahead by Speaking Vaguely
By Joel Stein
July 21-27, 2014
Bloomberg Businessweek