Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is about companies and institutions treating all stakeholders, both within and outside of a firm, in an ethical and responsible manner, creating higher standards of living while preserving the profitability of a company or institution. It’s a relatively new concept, but one that’s taken on increasing importance as consumers’ expectations have shifted, with the broader social and environmental impact of companies taking a more central role in purchasing and investment decisions.
If you’re interested in studying for your doctorate in business, learning about CSR – what it is, how it works, and how to develop your own initiatives – can be a significant advantage in building your career, while creating a positive impact on society through your business.
Why CSR is so Important for Businesses Today
Today’s consumers consider more than just the price and quality of goods and services when deciding where to spend their income. For many consumers, it’s equally, if not more, important to support businesses that align with their values and have a positive impact on society. One striking 2017 study from Cone Communications, for example, found that an overwhelming majority of consumers – 87% – would purchase a product because the company responsible advocated for an issue they care about, and 76% would refuse to purchase a company’s products or services if they learned that it supported an issue contrary to their beliefs.
Studies like these suggest that companies need to be proactive in affirming their commitment to social and environmental responsibility, or else risk losing the support of their customers and other stakeholders.
CSR Initiatives Can Take on a Variety of Issues
Graduates of DBA programs recognize that CSR can take many forms, depending on the institution or company in question. Businesses might choose to take on an environmental focus, for example, if the industry they operate within is known for imposing costs on the environment. This could mean, among other things, engaging in efforts to reduce the business’s carbon footprint, investing in clean energy sources, or transitioning towards recyclable or biodegradable materials in their products.
CSR could also involve adopting ethical labour practices within an organization, such as instituting a living wage, or ensuring that supply chains do not include companies that underpay or exploit workers overseas.
Regardless of the specific area or issue a company chooses to focus on, a good CSR policy features clear objectives and delivers measurable benefits to society, while reflecting a business’s core identity and reinforcing its purpose and its competencies.
With a doctorate from GBS, executives can learn how to implement CSR in their own businesses
Learn How to Implement CSR with a Doctorate in Business
The potential benefits of CSR for businesses are significant, and go beyond simply winning over environmentally and socially conscious consumers. CSR can also improve brand recognition and differentiation, encourage innovation, and save costs (with regards to energy usage, for example), in addition to increasing employee engagement and helping a business attract and retain high-quality talent.
Executives can learn the skills they need to implement their own CSR initiatives with a doctorate in business, which can teach students both the theory behind CSR and its practical application in a business or institutional environment. For executives who are intent on growing their organization while having a positive impact on the world around them, these skills can be essential in staying ahead of the curve and maintaining a competitive advantage in today’s socially conscious markets.
Students at GBS can learn about CSR from Professor Michael Hopkins, a leading expert on the subject
Are you interested in learning more about corporate social responsibility?
Contact Geneva Business School to learn more about our Doctor of Business Administration program.