HR PROFESSIONAL - CSR is more than recycling

Πέμπτη, 15 Νοεμβρίου 2018

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CSR

CSR is more than recycling

8 Δεκεμβρίου 2017 | 09:39 Γράφει ο Richard E.  Boyatzis Topics: HR Strategy,Motivating and Engaging Your People,Ε.Κ.Ε.,Μόνιμη στήλη,Συνεντεύξεις / Πρόσωπα

Richard Eleftherios Boyatzis

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is generally taken to mean the things that are done by people in organizations, their norms and values relevant to, and values they promote that help contribute to society, the community, its people and the environment. It is the organizational level of organizational citizenship, a key concept in the management literature these days that examines what people do above and beyond their job descriptions and expectations of others to help the organization and its stakeholders.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is generally taken to mean the things that are done by people in organizations, their norms and values relevant to, and values they promote that help contribute to society, the community, its people and the environment. It is the organizational level of organizational citizenship, a key concept in the management literature these days that examines what people do above and beyond their job descriptions and expectations of others to help the organization and its stakeholders.

Professor Archie Carroll (now Emeritus, University of Georgia) provided an insightful typology of corporate social responsibility in a landmark 1991 article. He said that CSR can be viewed as economic, legal, ethical, and philanthropic. He claimed these are operationalized as discretionary acts and values that represent an organization’s “obligations to society.” He defined economic CSR as: “the responsibility of the firm to make a profit and to produce goods or services that society wants.” He defined legal CSR as “the obligation that every company has to meet the requirements of laws enacted by federal, state, and local government.” He further defined ethical CSR as “the norms and values of fairness, right, and justice that society expects.” Lastly, Carroll defined philanthropic/discretionary CSR as “actions taken to help people and communities thrive and improve.”

At the simplest level, does an organization practice reducing waste to save money (economic CSR), to comply with city laws on reducing collectable trash (legal CSR), to consider the environment and reduce pollution (ethical CSR), or to promote themselves as being concerned about the natural environment (philanthropic/discretionary CSR). Or does an organization promote practices and explicitly promote shared values and norms for all four reasons to reduce waste.

The same variety of reasons within types of CSR could be applied to reducing contamination and pollution of water, air and noise. Or the practice of planting trees for every ton of waste, or using reusable sources of energy instead of burning fossil fuels. The same typology could be used to explain why some companies are actively involved in providing better education for children, housing for the homeless, and promoting world peace.

The common response to CSR is for executive to contend that they are businesses and not social service agencies. They can explain how they pay taxes so the government does these things and they do not. This rationale emerges from putting self-interest and expediency above seeing one’s place in society and the bigger picture of your purpose as an organization.

The Carroll typology helps us understand that CSR is more than recycling and reducing waste. It is a larger and more comprehensive mindset. It asks for a holistic interpretation of the purpose of a firm within its community and all of its stakeholders. It places CSR as more than programs to reduce trash waste—it includes programs, activities, norms and values of the culture on an organization.

CSR has been shown to result in greater profitability and social capital. For example, Professor Joseph Thornton (Assistant Professor, Bellarmine University) reviewed a number of studies. “Thornton and Byrd (2013) found that owners and managers of small and medium enterprises used social and personal values as well as past experience in making decisions about CSR. They found that empathy, compassion, conscientiousness and corporate vision played a major role in conditions that favored ethical and discretionary CSR. The study also found that owners and managers who were aware that their employees and local communities were key stakeholders enacted more ethical and discretionary CSR, while individuals who are confident in their decision making ability were more engaged on economic and legal CSR.” (Thornton, 2015).

In part 2 of this column addressing the topic of CSR will be further examination of the causes and consequences of engaging in more CSR, including exploring how to motivate others to consider more CSR.

Citations if you wish to read more: Carroll, A. (1991). The pyramid of corporate social responsibility: toward the moral management of organizational stakeholders. Business Horizons, 34(4): 39-48; Thorton, J.C. (2015). Shared vision: Mediating CSR in US food and beverage SMEs. Frontiers in Psychology, 5:1335. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01335.

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