Social Enterprise & Nonprofit: Corporate Social Responsibility

42 Results

 

The Surprising Link Between Language and Corporate Responsibility

Research by Christopher Marquis shows that a company's degree of social responsibility is affected by a surprising factor—the language it uses to communicate. Open for comment; 14 Comments posted.

Speaking of Corporate Social Responsibility

While many scholars have observed that corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a deeply cultural process, there are inconsistent findings on the specific cultural mechanisms by which culture affects CSR. This paper suggests that the way in which corporations use language is a strong predictor of their CSR and sustainability practices. It addresses two questions: 1) Why do CSR practices vary significantly across countries? And 2) How does the future-time orientation of companies' working languages affect their adoption of, compliance to, and engagement in corporate social responsibility programs? Building on the future-time criterion of scholars Dahl (2000) and Chen (2013), which separates languages into two broad categories-those languages that require future events to be grammatically marked when making predictions, and those that do not-the authors examine thousands of global companies across 59 countries from 1999 to 2011. The empirical results support the hypothesis that languages that grammatically separate the current tense from the future tense can significantly affect how corporations perceive future-oriented strategies, and so make corporate behavior less future-oriented. Overall, the authors introduce a new way to think about underlying variation in global CSR practices. As they show in this paper, it is crucial to examine language as an important underlying feature that shapes cultural values and the norms in a society. The study also builds on research into the ways in which perceptual category systems focus the attention, and subsequently, the behaviors, of corporate leaders. Read More

Private Sector, Public Good

What role, if any, does business have in creating social good? A new seminar series at Harvard Business School tackles this complex question. Open for comment; 11 Comments posted.

Non-Standard Matches and Charitable Giving

In this article, Michael Sanders, Sarah Smith, and Michael I. Norton review evidence suggesting that matching schemes—an increasingly common strategy used by nonprofits and firms to increase giving in which organizations match employee donations to charity—may not always prove effective. The authors offer several novel matching schemes designed to improve the effectiveness of matching, some focused on individual donors in isolation and some focused on donors embedded in organizations. The authors' hope is to spur further research assessing the efficacy of these schemes, reducing the tendency for matching schemes to crowd out donations and making them more likely to increase charitable behavior. Read More

How Local Events Shake Up Corporate Philanthropy

Large-scale events like the Olympics lead to a dramatic, albeit short-term increase in otherwise steady charitable-giving patterns among corporations headquartered near the event's host city, according to research by András Tilcsik and Christopher Marquis. Closed for comment; 1 Comment posted.

Pulling Campbell’s Out of the Soup

Campbell Soup had lost its way when Douglas Conant took charge in 2001. His first task: get out of his quiet zone and apply bold measures. Open for comment; 5 Comments posted.

How CEOs Sustain Higher-Ambition Goals

At a recent conference, executives underscored the importance of employee engagement, contributing to the community, and creating sustainable environment strategies. Closed for comment; 6 Comments posted.

New Agenda for Corporate Accountability Reporting

Professor Karthik Ramanna explains three ways to make corporate accountability reports potentially more useful to constituencies that include shareholders, communities, bondholders, and customers. Open for comment; 2 Comments posted.

A Pragmatic Alternative for Creating a Corporate Social Responsibility Strategy

Many companies preach and practice corporate social responsibility, but their efforts often lack an overall strategy that dilutes their effectiveness. Professor "Kash" Rangan and colleagues offer a pragmatic solution. Closed for comment; 8 Comments posted.

No News Is Good News: CSR Strategy and Newspaper Coverage of Negative Firm Events

This study examines the gatekeeping role of the media in determining which negative corporate events reach a broader audience. Jiao Luo, Stephan Meier, and Felix Oberholzer-Gee test the idea that investments in corporate social responsibility (CSR) create public good will, leading the media to treat companies with a superior CSR track record in a favorable manner. They find the opposite. Newspapers are more likely to report negative news about companies if the companies invested heavily in CSR. For example, oil companies that invest in clean energy face a greater risk of media coverage in the event of an oil spill. An analysis of the tone of media coverage shows that news reports are no more positive for CSR leaders than for the average company. Read More

Why Every Company Needs a CSR Strategy and How to Build It

Despite certain criticisms, more and more companies in the world practice some form of corporate social responsibility. This paper offers a pragmatic alternative framework for CSR with a view towards developing its practice in an evolutionary way. The authors' extensive experience working with CSR practitioners convinces them that exhorting companies to hone their CSR practice under a shared value framework does not reflect the reality for a majority of businesses. CSR executives oversee a variety of social initiatives that may or may not directly contribute to a company's business goals. The role of an executive is to achieve the difficult task of reconciling the various programs, quantifying their benefits, or at least sketching a logical connection to the business, and securing the support of his or her business line counterparts. This role, when performed well, would lead to the development of a CSR strategy for the company. Read More

Market Interest in Nonfinancial Information

During the past two decades, there have been many ideas for improving business reporting of nonfinancial information such as on a company's environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance. Using data from Bloomberg, authors Robert G. Eccles, Michael P. Krzus, and George Serafeim provide insights into market interest in nonfinancial information at a level of granularity not available until now. They identify exactly what information is of greatest interest, contrasting both the global and U.S. market across the full spectrum of ESG information and for each component of ESG, as well as Carbon Disclosure Project metrics. They also show variation in interest across asset classes and firm types, and present preliminary explanations for these differences. Read More

Who Is Governing Whom? Senior Managers, Governance and the Structure of Generosity in Large U.S. Firms

Analyzing several Fortune 500 firms over the period of 10 years, Christopher Marquis and Matthew Lee discuss the factors that influence corporate philanthropy, using the subject to theorize about and test how structural features of organizations help senior leaders to shape firm strategy. Read More

Corporate Social Responsibility and Access to Finance

Corporate social responsibility may benefit society, but does it benefit the corporation? Indeed it does, according to a new study that shows how CSR can make it easier for firms to secure financing for new projects. Research was conducted by George Serafeim and Beiting Cheng of Harvard Business School and Ioannis Ioannou of the London Business School. Read More

Leading and Lagging Countries in Contributing to a Sustainable Society

To determine the extent to which corporate and investor behavior is changing to contribute to a more sustainable society, researchers Robert Eccles and George Serafeim analyzed data involving over 2,000 companies in 23 countries. One result: a ranking of countries based on the degree to which their companies integrate environmental and social discussions and metrics in their financial disclosures. Open for comment; 11 Comments posted.

Corporate Sustainability Reporting: It’s Effective

In a growing trend, countries have begun requiring companies to report their environmental, social, and governance performance. George Serafeim of HBS and Ioannis Ioannou of London Business School set out to find whether this reporting actually induces companies to improve their nonfinancial performance and contribute toward a sustainable society. Open for comment; 12 Comments posted.

One Report: Integrated Reporting for a Sustainable Strategy

What a company externally reports shapes how it behaves internally. The key question is, "What should companies report?" Read More

HBS Workshop Encourages Corporate Reporting on Environmental and Social Sustainability

The concept of integrated reporting could help mend the lack of trust between business and the public, Harvard Business School Dean Nitin Nohria tells attendees at a seminal workshop. Closed for comment; 7 Comments posted.

The Impact of Corporate Social Responsibility on Investment Recommendations

Security analysts are increasingly awarding more favorable ratings to firms with corporate socially responsible (CSR) strategies, according to this paper by Ioannis Ioannou and HBS professor George Serafeim. Their work explores how CSR strategies can affect value creation in public equity markets through analyst recommendations. Read More

The Hard Work of Measuring Social Impact

Donors are placing nonprofits on the hot seat to measure social performance. Problem is, there is little agreement on what those metrics should be. Professor Alnoor Ebrahim on how nonprofit managers should respond. Read More

Earth Day Reflections

On the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, April 22, Harvard Business School professors Robert G. Eccles, Rebecca Henderson, and Richard H.K. Vietor shared their views on the sustainability-related challenges and opportunities facing today's business leaders. Read More

Corporate Social Responsibility in a Downturn

Financial turmoil is not a reason to scale back on CSR programs—quite the opposite, says HBS professor V. Kasturi "Kash" Rangan. As a marketing scholar Rangan is optimistic about strategic CSR efforts that provide value in communities and society. Q&A Read More

The Value of Environmental Activists

With decidedly non-profit goals leading them on, how do environmental protection groups such as Greenpeace and World Wildlife Fund create value? Can it be measured? A Q&A with Harvard Business School professor Ramon Casadesus-Masanell and case writer Jordan Mitchell. Read More

The Time is Right for Creative Capitalism

Bill Gates has it right. Business is the most powerful force for change in the world right now and gives the idea of creative capitalism real power, writes Harvard Business School professor Nancy F. Koehn. Read More

Mapping Polluters, Encouraging Protectors

Where are the biggest polluters? And what is your company doing to protect the environment? A new Web site—both a public service and a research tool—posts managers' data in real time, allowing a balanced view of industrial environmental performance. HBS professor Michael W. Toffel and senior research fellow Andrew A. King explain. Read More

Six Steps for Reinvigorating America

In the early stages of the 21st century, America has lost its way both at home and in the world, argues Harvard Business School professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter. In her new book, America the Principled, she details 6 opportunities for America to boost its economic vitality and democratic ideals. Q&A plus excerpt. Read More

Self-Regulatory Institutions for Solving Environmental Problems: Perspectives and Contributions from the Management Literature

What role can business managers play in protecting the natural environment? Academic research on when it might "pay to be green" has advanced understanding of how and when firms achieve sustained competitive advantage. The focus of such research, however, has begun to change in light of limits to available "win-win" opportunities and to gaps in regulation. This paper, intended as a book chapter, reviews current literature and explores the potential of self-regulatory institutions to solve environmental problems. Read More

Industry Self-Regulation: What’s Working (and What’s Not)?

Self-regulation has been all over the news, but are firms that adopt such programs already better on important measures like labor and quality practices? Does adopting a program help companies improve faster? In this Q&A, HBS professor Michael Toffel gives a reality check and discusses the trends for managers. Read More

Do Corporate Social Responsibility Ratings Predict Corporate Social Performance?

Ratings of corporations' environmental activities and capabilities influence billions of dollars of "socially responsible" investments as well as consumers, activists, and potential employees. But how well do these ratings predict socially responsible outcomes such as superior environmental performance? Companies can enhance their environmental image in one of two ways: by reducing or minimizing their impact on the environment, or by merely appearing to do so via marketing efforts or "greenwashing." This study evaluates the predictive validity of environmental ratings produced by Kinder, Lydenberg, Domini Research & Analytics (KLD), and tests whether companies that score high on KLD ratings generate superior environmental performance or whether highly rated firms are simply superior marketers of the factors that these rating agencies purport to measure. The data analysis examines all 588 large, publicly-owned companies in the United States that were both regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and whose social performance was rated by KLD at least once during 1991-2003. This paper may be the first to examine the predictive validity of social or environmental ratings. Read More

Corporate Responsibility and the Environment: What is the Right Thing To Do?

Does it make legal, ethical, or economic sense for companies to participate in environmental corporate social responsibility programs? A new book from HBS professor Richard Vietor and colleagues Bruce Hay and Robert N. Stavins attempts to separate fact from fiction on the debate. Read More

How Organizations Create Social Value

A study of smart practices by social and business organizations in Iberoamerica. Research by HBS professor James Austin, HBS senior researcher Ezequiel A. Reficco, and UNIANDES professor Roberto Gutiérrez. Read More

Motivation and the Cross-Sector Alliance

Corporate partnering with social organizations is beneficial for both, as seen in fruitful relationships built in the Americas. But first you must understand the motives of each party. Read More

Why We Don’t Study Corporate Responsibility

What can business do to improve social welfare? In fact, we don’t know because too little study has been given the issue, argues HBS professor Joshua Margolis and colleagues. Read More

How Corporate Responsibility is Changing in Asia

Expectations are changing on the role multinational corporations play in improving the Asian communities in which they serve. Read More

When Protestors Knock at Your Door

You may not enjoy being targeted by a non-governmental organization, but you better learn how to manage that relationship, say HBS professor Debora Spar and Lane LaMure. Read More

AIDS in Africa—What’s the Solution?

The tragedy of AIDS has the potential to decimate society—and of course workforces, too. African-based experts in health care and the pharmaceutical industry traded ideas for alleviating this scourge in a session moderated by Harvard Business School Professor Debora L. Spar. Read More

The Widening Rift Between Corporations and Society

Managerial capitalism is hanging on by its fingertips, say James Maxmin and HBS professor Shoshana Zuboff. In this e-mail interview with HBS Working Knowledge and in an excerpt from their new book, The Support Economy, the authors lay out the problem and offer savvy solutions for business and consumers. Read More

Using Big Business to Fight Poverty

Can an international alliance of global corporations win a war on poverty? Yes, if such an alliance is well planned and formed soon, according to HBS professor emeritus George C. Lodge. Read More

Are Assets Only for America’s Wealthy?

It's a crucial question: How can this country's poor build up their assets and jump out of the spiral of poverty? The challenge is to create asset-building programs that go beyond savings, expanding into other financial services with higher return rates and greater opportunities, with a big assist from technology, argues Harvard Business School professor Peter Tufano. Read More

Does Misery Love Companies? How Social Performance Pays Off

Is there a relationship between a company's social performance and its financial performance? HBS associate professor Joshua D. Margolis and University of Michigan colleague James P. Walsh make the connection in their latest working paper. PLUS: Margolis Q&A. Read More

No Place Like Home: America’s Housing Crisis and Its Impact on Business

Affordable housing is a bottom-line issue, one that American business ignores at its own peril. New research and initiatives of HBS Professors William J. Poorvu and Michael A. Wheeler and others show why business needs to take a more provocative stance to assure that moderate- and low- income workers can afford to live near where they work. Read More

Bringing the Environment Down to Earth

Does it pay to be green? When it comes to questions about business and the environment, says HBS Professor Forest L. Reinhardt, there are no simple yes-or-no answers. In this excerpt from his article in the Harvard Business Review, Reinhardt stresses the importance of applying traditional business principles to environmental issues. Read More