Academic journal article Journal of Management and Organization

EDITORIAL: Introduction and Interviews

Academic journal article Journal of Management and Organization

EDITORIAL: Introduction and Interviews

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

The aim of this special issue of Journal of Management & Organization (ISBN 978-1-921348-76-1) is to explore the role of business schools and institutions of higher education in fostering the individual and organisational capabilities necessary for change for corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability.

Growing awareness in organisations and governments about the need to develop leadership and management skills for sustainability was recognised by the United Nations when it declared a Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (Decade) (2005-2014). The aim of this Decade was to promote a better understanding of the three pillars of sustainability: environmental, social and economic sustainability. At the same time, marked by the emergence of inter-governmental and business networks such as the Global Compact and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, increasing attention was being paid to the responsibilities of business and corporations.

The term CSR has been used to refer to the broad range of responsibilities that business has towards its many stakeholders. These stakeholders include shareholders, as well as customers, employees, local communities, governments, future generations and the environment. The nature of CSR and the extent of business's responsibilities are topics for substantial debate. On the one hand, there is support, based on a 'classical/neoclassical' view of business, for Friedman's (1970) well known claim that the only social responsibility of business is to increase its profits by conducting its activities according to the rules. On the other, academics and practitioners who adopt a stakeholder view of the world consider the responsibilities of business to be much broader. For example, when Freeman's definition of stakeholder is adopted as the basis for considering CSR, the responsibilities of business are located within an explicit pluralist view of the organisation, society and the natural environment. Freeman (1984, p. 46) defines stakeholders as any group or individual that can affect or is affected by the achievement of the organisation's objectives'. According to this broad stakeholder perspective, business has responsibilities to build the total long run value of the organisation to maximize the benefits for society (Jensen 2008, p. 167). On this view, businesses are part of the communities in which they operate and are expected to demonstrate behaviour which does not damage social well-being and that will not destroy the stores of natural capital that will provide for the future of society and the planet.

The terms of the debate are now shifting. Business leaders are increasingly voicing the opinion that CSR and sustainability are strategic lenses through which to view the resilience and future growth capacity of the firm (Jones, 2011). Despite the recent financial crisis, there is evidence that many senior managers continue to perceive good governance, CSR and corporate sustainability as fundamental to the long-term successful operations of any organization. In the recent 13th Annual Global CEO survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers, for example, more CEOs raised climate change investment during the crisis than reduced it and more than two-thirds thought such strategies would confer reputational advantages. And according to an Accenture Report for the 2010 UN Global Compact, 93% of 766 CEOs of global companies surveyed in 2010 believed that sustainability issues will be critical to the future success of their organisations and 96% believed that sustainability issues should be fully integrated into strategy and operations (Accenture, 2010). Similarly, research conducted by Boston Consulting Group (2009) involving a global survey of 1500 executives and 50 interviews reported a strong consensus that sustainability is having a material impact on how companies behave and plan to behave. In other words, the topics of sustainability and CSR are now at the forefront of business strategising for the future. …

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