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Doing the right thing is not an option. It is a must!

Another book on CSR has been published by three professors at CBS. The content of the book was revealed as well as the process and thoughts behind the writing process at our seminar in Vilvorde in Charlottenlund at the beginning of December.

Text and photo: Eva Vestrheim, MBA

Three professors from CBS were invited to present their recent book on CSR at the Event “Forum for strategic CSR”, the overall theme being “Beyond Compliance.” The key themes in the book called “Corporate Social Responsibility: Strategy, Communication, Governance” are strategy, regulation, communication and governance seen from a global perspective written by an international team of experts; Andreas Rasche, Mette Morsing & Jeremy Moon.

Andreas Rasche, PhD, was initiating the presentation by introducing the question that has been ruling throughout the writing process; “why write another book on CSR?” Limitation is key and as CSR is a complex subject for the time being, the book is a textbook with a special emphasis adapted to students including learning objectives and cases, teaching the students relevant issues, conveying correct information – combining practical coverage with theoretical grounding.

Behind the book are four years of intense work, research, conversations, discussions and deployed resources which has resulted in a book comprising a balanced discussion of the critiques of CSR as well as its potential to create opportunity.

What’s new

The publisher asked the team of authors what new aspects they intended to bring to the market and the question caused further investigation around the topic. Eventually, the process was enlightening, explorative and rewarding for the authors, and hopefully equally for the audience.

The focus of CSR has shifted in accordance with the tendencies of the decades. In the 70´s the trend was philanthropy; the business of the business is business; whereas in the 80’s the compliance to do no harm was the overall driver; in the 90´s the issue of partnerships redefined the role of business in society, and finally in our century, the 20´s, is featuring the competitiveness as a way of creating value.

Trust and transparency

The book is driving into the discussion of transparency, and Mette Morsing were questioning the corporate construction of transparency, whether the state of being overall transparent is the ultimate goal. Further she concluded that trust and transparency in societal actors and in society in general are essential factors in the discussion of CSR.

CSR is changing

Much CSR literature seems to assume that CSR communication is inferior to action and decoupled from influence, obligations and impact. CSR action is about doing and CSR communication is “just talking”, it is said.” Though as the book argues “Though CSR communication matters strategically and importantly for business as well as for society.”

Several perspectives on CSR

Conclusively, it has been important to emphasize that there are several perspectives on CSR and not just one and this must be considered by the audience; the students in order to reflect and to understand the complexity that lies within the issues of CSR.

The intension of the authors has been to stimulate students and the audience to think for themselves and the book – addressing one of the most important issues of the decade – is an invitation to reflect.

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