In the article “The Truth about CSR”, KasturiRangan, Lisa Chase, and SohelKarimassert that most of these CSR programs aren’t strategic. The three authors have wide range of understanding in Corporate Social responsibility, KasturiRangan is the co-chair of HBS Social Enterprise Initiative and a professor of Marketing at Harvard School, SohelKarim is also the managing director and the co-founder of a social enterprise consulting firm called Socient Associates, Lisa Chase is a freelance consultant and a research associate at Harvard Business School. The authors assert that most corporations have long engaged in some form of corporate social responsibility (CSR) with the broad idea, simply, of participation in the welfare of the communities they directly affect and on which they significantly depend. The article explains why companies must refocus their CSR functions on their fundamental goal and deliver a systematic process that would bringunity and discipline to CSR approaches.
This paper presents a review on the article, “The Truth about CSR”. The review intends to capture the main ideas presented by the three authors, test their practicality, and identify the main issues, the solutions offered and the vitals steps towards achieving the proposed solutions.
Corporate Social Responsibility is a fundamental concept that is meant to ensure the corporate world functions in harmony with the communities and societies. This concept ensures growth and sustainabilityof the corporations that embrace it. It is clear that although many corporations have embraced the broad vision of CSR, they are hindered by poor coordination and a lack of know-how connecting their various programs.Currently, there is increasing pressure to reinstate CSR as a business discipline and the urge that every business should deliver good results.
To understand how corporationsplan and execute CSR programs over the past decade, there is need to conducted in-depth interviews with vital stakeholders (Campbell 953). The authors conducted several interview with scores of management team including; corporate directors, managers, and Chief Executive Officers who are either directly or indirectly accountable for their companies’ CSR strategies, along with developing more than a dozen case studies on the topic. The researchers managed to survey 142 managers who attended managerial education program on CSR in Harvard Business School’s during the past 4years.
The research and studies on various companies across geographic and commercial spectrum indicates that CSR activities are typically divided among three theaters of practice (Rangan, Lisa and Sohel 40). The first essential step is allocating CSR activities accordingly. This encompasses strategic attentionon philanthropy activities. It is clear that the initiatives in this theater are not deliberated to produce business profits or directly improve corporate performance. This may include; donations of funds or supporting civic organizations projects, working with community initiatives, and facilitation of employees’ voluntary service. Secondly, there is need to improve operational effectiveness and efficiency. Programs in this theater works within existing corporate models to deliver social and environmental benefits in a manner that support a corporation’sactions across the value chain.Because theater two initiatives may reduce costs, gauging their performance calls on more strategic and tangible approaches (Rangan, Lisa and Sohel 44). To some extent, these mayinclude quantifying how energy and waste reduction programsimpact various aspects and improve quality of social resources.Thirdly, the need to change the business modelfor better is a key objective. Initiatives in this theater form new forms of business mainly to address social and environmental challenges.
The main problem the article seeks to address is the fact that CSR programs by many companies lack proper coordination. Majority of these initiatives are run by managers of companies without but without active involvement of the CEOs. Such companies cannot articulate effectively CSR initiatives and therefore they cannot have significant impact in the environment and the communities in which they operate. Moreover, well-managed corporations seem less concerned in totally integrating CSR programs with their corporate strategies and aims than in creating a persuasive CSR initiative aligned with the corporation’sgoals and values.The authors suggest that companies must develop cogent CSR strategies, with approaches typically divided among the three theaters of practice. In a summary, theater one majors on philanthropy, theater two focuses on improving operational effectiveness, and lastly theater three focuses on transforming the corporate model to create shared value.
The method used by the three researchers included surveying managers of different companies who attended executive education program on CSR at Harvard Business School’s during the past4years. They were interviewed on a wide range of issues that affect CSR initiatives in their companies, including structure and supervision of their companies’ CSR activities.
The researchers suggestthat corporations shouldtrimthe existing programs in each theater to align them with the corporation’sgoals and values; develop strategic approach of gauging initiatives’ success; coordinate vital programs across all theaters; and creating an interdisciplinary management crew to drive CSR agenda. In order to maximize their constructive impact on the social and environmental systems in which they operate, corporations must develop coherent CSR approaches. Most importantly, the aligning process of CSR initiatives must start with overhaul and audit of existing programs.
The criteria used to judge the article includes its originality, format, relevance, significance, presentation, content, and credentials. The article presents the concepts in a clear and detailed manner through surveying 142 managers who appearedin CSR executive education program at Harvard Business School.The method used by the authors makes the article exciting to read. The article provides a comprehensive research on vital aspects thataffect corporate CSR programs and presents interesting findings which confirms that a wide range of these programs are not strategic. Changing the approach and revisiting these plans can significantly create a new paradigm that can ensure effectiveness and efficiency in CSR initiatives (Flammer 2550). However, the researchers’ idea of surveying manager who had attended education program on CSR is a biased approach. Therefore, the data collected is probably biased in favour of companies and corporations with relatively advanced Corporate Social Responsibility practices. The finding of this research would have been more meaningful if the researchers approached different companies in their locations.
Consequently, the relevance of this otherwise comprehensive and contemporary research is otherwise compromised is therefore somewhat compromised by it’s moderately biased assessment. However, the content is precise with clear purpose and goal and the surveyed data well analysed. Additionally, the article is well organised with appropriate coherencewhich makes it easy to read and understand.
The main impression in this article is thatthere is need for corporation to restructure and strengthen their CSR programs. Though it is not practical for all companies to engage insimilar types of CSR programs, since CSR initiatives are driven by various factors including the industry and the societal settings in which companies operate and the vital motivations of the individuals who run and coordinate CSR programs in each company, there is need to trim the existing programs in order to align them with the corporation’s goals and values; develop strategic approach of gauging initiatives’ accomplishment; coordinate vital programs across all theaters; and creating an interdisciplinary management crew to drive CSR agenda.
Campbell, John L. “Why would corporations behave in socially responsible ways?An institutional theory of corporate social responsibility.” Academy of management Review 32.3 (2007): 946-967.
Flammer, Caroline. “Does corporate social responsibility lead to superior financial performance? A regression discontinuity approach.” Management Science 61.11 (2015): 2549-2568.
Rangan, Kasturi, Lisa Chase, and SohelKarim. “The Truth About CSR.” Harvard Business Review 93.1/2 (2015): 40-49. Business Source Complete.Web. 26 Oct. 2016.