HOW CAN BUSINESS SCHOOL FOSTER CSR


By
Reshma Prasad
Lecturer
Centre for Management Studies
Dharamsin Desai Institute of Technology
Nadiad
E-mail :
prasadreshma@yahoo.com
 


A  number of recent surveys have been conducted in India on CSR (corporate social responsibility) . The latest survey of that being is by TERI  India (Tata Energy Research Institute) called  "Altered Images" which focuses the feedback generated by workers, company executives and the public. This survey highlights the concerns of environment pollution, good quality products, Employee discrimination / protection, role of NGOs and other social issues which needs more attention by companies. This is the latest scenario in India of what people feel about corporate social responsibility. CSR is really going to be a burning desire if we want to achieve Self Actualization in Business. There is a growing recognition that good ethics has a positive role to play on the individual's performance. Many statistics support the view that ethics, values, integrity and responsibility are required in the modern workplace. For consumer groups and society at large, research has shown that good ethics is good business. Various studies illustrate the increased emphasis that has been placed on these issues overtime; then, why not integrate it within the literature of Management Education. Corporate Social Responsibility as a subject is not only becoming acceptable in the business but it's practically required why?

Each succeeding generation has impact on the next generations values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviour. Thus our grandparent's values are likely to be reflected in ours, as ours are to be reflected in our children's and grandchildren's. So the movement towards consciously incorporating ethics in our curriculum will help our society grow, the cultural pull to be ethical into businesses will be very stronger too. We always know what is good or bad, or right or wrong. Ethics has always been defined as a conception of what is right and fair conduct of behavior which can be imbibed in the latest programmes which are being introduced by various business school where they are making an endeavour to initiate courses on Entrepreneurship Development , Family Business Management etc.

The efforts are required  to integrate CSR into the mainstream of business education, where deans and professors at business schools and universities can promote new teaching models. Efforts like advocating philanthropic activities should be encouraged in campus where students can participate in societal development activities eg: working for slum rehabilitation programmes, hosting relief camps, earthquake rehabilitation programmes, literacy development programmes, organizing various traditional festival programmes etc; as a project work which would serve the dual purpose of learning and governing with social cause. Business schools can foster an ongoing dialogue and partnership between business leaders, business school leaders and NGOs. There is a need to develop a strong collaboration between the Institutes and Industry where students can be engaged in a projects on Business ethics. The need too exists to persuade Business Schools and individual researchers such as Ph.Ds and MBA students to work on CSR. Business School needs to include small businesses in their research and curriculum development. More studies are required to be done on companies, which have been wrongly publicized on account of ethical ground the latest hotly debated of Coca Cola and Pepsi. This has really generated interest in the society and among the consumer group so we need to find an answer both at a faculty and student level.

What ever may be the consequences we can have lots more case study examples of various companies on the ground of CSR, we can show what they are doing and how they are doing. Some are certainly the role models for eg. companies like McDonalds, Hewlett Packard , TCS, Infosys and Wipro etc. Indian IT firms have earmarked a sizeable portion of their profit for social cause. Polaris Software Labs, for instance, spent Rs. 20.94 lakh on social responsibility during 2001-02, compared to Rs. 17.39 lakh the previous year. Other companies including NIIT, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Satyam Infoway and Congnizant Technology Solutions have also earmarked sizeable sums for CSR.

We all know students are the hot iron rod  which can be moulded the way we want and gurus are the moulders. The growing breed of MBAs and Engineers every year passing out from various institute of repute can establish a strong credential in this sphere. They are a resource who are unbiased more prone to learning environment and more conscious for community . One of the research has evidenced a fact that few students have made an initiative by voluntarily opting to be employed in NGOs or associated with philanthropic activities somewhere or the other. There are some institutes which have really started the job and they can be the role models or the forerunner surely for others too. I am presenting some of the examples of what activities are being performed at present:

IIMC students founded a group called Parivaar with the objective of creating leaders at the grassroots level. This year, as many as 22 students from IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Bangalore, IIM Calcutta, IIM Lucknow and IIT Bombay's School of Management are doing their summer internship with The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) in Singapore.  This idea has led many B-schools to take up social issues quite aggressively. Mumbai-based SP Jain Institute of Management Research (SPJIMR), for instance, does not follow the traditional route of summer projects like other B-schools. At SPJIMR, all the students do a 6-week project after their first year with an NGO or the corporate social responsibility division of a corporate. At IIMA, students have taken several voluntary steps to link up with larger social causes, be it relief work at earthquake time, or work for communal harmony, says Prof. Anil Gupta, faculty member at the institute. Students at IIM A have set up nature clubs and management assistance clubs for small enterprises (SOMA, students organisation for management assistance).  IIMC has a centre called 'Management Center for Human Values' (MCHV) to train its students on a range of issues from business ethics to corporate social responsibility (CSR). These business schools are making an effort to produce more socially - sensitized MBAs, but the enthusiasm is still lacking . In the year 2002 IIMA had organized a workshop on Environment Management concepts to be included in management curriculum" which was supported by government initiative but how far it has been integrated its still a big (?) but the effort is recognizable and can be a subject of inspiration . Recently IIMA had organized  a Traditional Food Festival under the functioning of Shristi Special Academy headed by Prof. Anil Gupta IIMA to boost local food producers . This vision of some of the stalwarts has led CSR to be integrated into mainstream management curriculum . If this has been possible then why not make it a reality at a broader level. Management education is more than oft -repeated monetary one. This is really the truth, the journey is very long but it is for sure that  committed workforce of all Business schools in India  can make a beginning for building a strong "socially responsible" Managers  of Tommorow.
 


Reshma Prasad
Lecturer
Centre for Management Studies
Dharamsin Desai Institute of Technology
Nadiad
E-mail :
prasadreshma@yahoo.com
 

Source : E-mail July 21, 2004

 

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