Corporate Citizenship Blog

Chris Pinney

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Critique shines light on challenges of CSR practice

Posted by Chris Pinney on Aug 31, 2010 12:29:49 PM

Dr. Aneel Karnani’s commentary in the Wall Street Journal, “The Case Against Corporate Social Responsibility” is a good illustration of the challenge facing the business management strategy field in the 21st century -- namely to comprehend the changing role and impact of business in society and integrate this understanding into contemporary management theory.

Like many critics of CSR, Dr. Karnani’s world view remains firmly rooted in the 20th century social contract where governments (supposedly) took care of social responsibility and business took care of business. For Dr. Karnani, corporate social responsibility at its core is nothing more than a misguided distraction for business leaders and managers who should be focused on “profit maximization.”

While he acknowledges that companies sometimes can do well by doing good, his view is more often that they can't, and furthermore postulates that this “makes it more likely that we'll ignore the real solutions to these problems.” He argues that if business had a meaningful role to play then societies’ pervasive and persistent problems would have been solved long ago by companies seeking to maximize their profits.” In his view the “real” solution to societal problems is a return to a world of more government regulation and intervention. As he notes, government regulation’s “greatest appeal is that it is binding. Government has the power to enforce regulation. No need to rely on anyone's best intentions.”

While one can appreciate Dr Karnani’s desire for a simpler time where governments take care of society and business takes care of business, in reality we live in a much more complex world.

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Topics: Corporate Citizenship

What’s the role of corporate foundations in 21st century corporate citizenship?

Posted by Chris Pinney on Apr 9, 2010 10:28:51 AM

Corporate foundations and philanthropy were the primary vehicle and in many cases, the “face” of corporate citizenship for most large companies for much of the late 20th century. Today, this is rapidly changing as corporations work to meet new expectations for corporate responsibility and citizenship.

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Topics: Corporate Citizenship

Are we there yet? What is the future of corporate citizenship?

Posted by Chris Pinney on Apr 5, 2010 5:52:18 AM

If you are a corporate citizenship professional it is not hard to feel that corporate citizenship has really come into its own in the past decade. Corporate citizenship seems to have passed the “stress test” as companies continue to embrace corporate citizenship despite the worst economic crisis in 50 years.

Our 2009 State of Corporate Citizenship survey last fall showed most American C-suite executives now realize the business value of corporate citizenship and are actively working to integrate corporate citizenship policies into their companies’ business strategy and practices. There is a rapidly growing corporate citizenship consultancy and ranking industry, which seems to further confirm that corporate citizenship is now material to business and not simply a “do-gooding sideshow” as the Economist once characterized it.

Given all this activity it is easy to lose sight of the bigger questions: Is all this activity adding up to anything meaningful? Are we really driving a fundamental transformation in the way business impacts society? Is business really stepping up its contribution to helping solve the immense social and environmental challenges now facing us? Are we measuring progress in inches when we need to be making progress in miles?

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Topics: Corporate Citizenship

Tomorrow’s business leaders share corporate citizenship visions

Posted by Chris Pinney on Jan 7, 2010 11:43:28 AM

One only had to sit in on our Verizon CSR case competition at the Boston College Carroll School of Management to realize we are at the cusp of a fundamental transformation of the corporate citizenship field that will be driven by a new generation of business leaders.

These young leaders in business schools around the country understand CSR not simply as a way to manage risk or philanthropy but as a powerful strategy to drive business results. The proof of this potential was well illustrated in ideas put forward by teams in the Carroll School of Management MBA program’s recent CSR case competition. Sponsored this year by Verizon, the CSR case competition is part of a for-credit required course on management processes for all first-year MBA students. The competition is the highlight of the program developed and taught by Center faculty.

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Topics: Corporate Citizenship

Future of the corporation conference: Stormy weather ahead

Posted by Chris Pinney on Jun 15, 2009 10:10:55 AM

Corporation 20/20's second annual conference on the future of the corporation took place in Boston last week. Chaired by Allen White, founder of the Global Reporting Initiative and head of Corporation 20/20, the conference brought together a small and eclectic group of experts, pundits and business leaders, both domestic and international, to address the challenge of how to restore sanity to our economic system and create the foundation for a sustainable economy. The conference covered a breathtaking range of subjects, from the chartering of companies and regulation, to whether companies can have a "soul," to the limits of modern portfolio theory.

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Topics: Corporate Citizenship

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Welcome to the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship blog, we are your resource for corporate citizenship insights, research, trending topics and professional development. Our blog is a place to exchange ideas and learn about corporate citizenship.

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