5.3 Corporate Social Responsibility

In the modern age, a great deal of importance has been placed on making social changes within companies. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a form of self-regulation in which firms take action and make initiatives to help people and the environment[13]. There are two perspectives to corporate social responsibility which are defined as the classical view, in which Milton Friedman claims management’s only responsibility is to maximize profits[14], and the socio-economic view, in which Samuelson claims management must be concerned with the broader social welfare and not just with corporate profits[15]. Regardless of the perspective on how CSR is achieved within an organization, CSR must compile a level of conviction, and a level of compliance in order to be successful in this area.

The reality is that any form of management or leadership requires some form of social responsibility, responsibility to your colleagues, upper management, customers, and vendors.  This relates to the idea of the many directions of corporate governance. Corporate governance is the different relationships that a manager will have within an organization. Ethics self-governance is the performance standards requiring high ethical standards and social responsibility.

One of the most common methods for understanding CSR is to understand the triple bottom line, which relates to the three p’s: profit, people, and planet[16]. The method of the triple bottom line is used to measure a level of accountability in funding to support ethical, social, and environmental causes. In addition, it is less of just implementing CSR for the sake of implementation; the triple bottom line acts as an empirical measure to ensure CSR initiatives make a difference.

Within the framework of learning organizations, we find the onus of responsibility being placed on institutions of higher learning. One glaring example is the role academic misconduct plays on college and university campuses as Christensen-Hughes and McCabe have cited that a majority of U.S. students have engaged in some form of academic misconduct [17]. This brings into the ethical dilemma to provide responsible graduates to engage into the corporate world after academics.

Review Questions:

  1. What are the steps of the zone of compliance and the zone of conviction?
  2. What is the definition of Corporate Social Responsibility?
  3. What are the three p’s in the triple bottom line?


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

Leadership and Management in Learning Organizations Copyright © by Clayton Smith; Carson Babich; and Mark Lubrick is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book