CSR - wo geht die Reise hin?

30. November 2009

Wie wird sich Corporate Social Responsibility in den kommenden Jahren weiterentwickeln und welche Veränderungen sind im Management gesellschaftlicher Verantwortung zu erwarten? Mit diesen Fragen setzt sich Stephen Jordan im Blog des Business Civic Leadership Center auseinander und erwartet spannende Zeiten.

"Where is CSR going? The easy answer is that it is pushing forward around some kind of combination of ‘people, principles, planet, and profits.’

But who does this please or satisfy? In a way this formulation is too abstract, too gauzy, too corporate-centric and not corporate-centric enough.

Activists seem to be frustrated that companies are not doing their bidding enough. Some folks may have had the illusion that all companies march in lock step with each other and that once they had converted a few targeted companies, all the rest would fall in behind them. Good luck with that. Everyone knows of some business rivalries that make the Hatfields and McCoys look tame.

On the other hand, other groups are casting around for their next behavioral victory. If you watch the television series Mad Men, with its depiction of early 1960s corporate mores compared with today, it is clear that corporate mores have changed profoundly.  In the series, the men are casually sexist, everyone smokes and drinks on the job, health care is an afterthought, and environmental consciousness is non-existent. It would be enough to give any Fortune 500 HR director today palpitations.

When corporate behavior has changed so profoundly, what’s next?

The truth is, the real energy in CSR is coming from the business side, not the social side.

Companies are starting to realize that ethics, stakeholder relationships, and external conditions affect their competitive position. They realize that the more they build up their internal ethical culture, the more productive and dedicated their employee teams become. The more they actively manage their stakeholder relationships, the more they leverage their business eco-system. The more they actively engage with their external environment, the more effective their internal resources become.

Over the next few years, I would submit that concepts like ‘social capital,’ ‘stakeholder relationship management,’ and ‘sustainable development’ are going to become much more mainstream and widespread, and that there will be a transformation in the management of the field.

Take ‘social capital’ for example. Companies are going to start developing tools to measure their organizational productivity, industry productivity, and business productivity.  Concepts like ‘social friction,’ ‘transaction costs,’ ‘trust building,’ ‘trust substitutes,’ ‘trust brokering,’ and the like will become more commonplace as companies transition from hierarchical systems to network systems with hubs and nodes. The implications of the information and communication technology (ICT) revolution are going to remake the way people see themselves, their organizations, and their eco-systems.

At first blush, stakeholder relationship management (SRM) might seem like a subset of this concept, but SRM is going to be a widely plumbed field in its own right. As we move from three networks to 500 TV channels, 250,000 non-profits to 1.5 million (in the U.S. alone, not to mention worldwide), and hundreds of millions of voices and perspectives on social media and the other components of the internet, SRM is going to rapidly evolve.

But if social capital management and stakeholder relationship management would seem to place CSR in more of a brand/reputation/marketing/communications/legal continuum, the assistance, recovery, and development challenges that we are seeing seem to be pulling CSR in a more strategic planning and operational direction.

CSR practitioners are increasingly having to learn site selection criteria, community design, urban planning, GIS mapping, project cost/benefit analysis, time value of money, critical path theory, systems integration, and a host of other disciplines to help them determine the context and the value of their social investments.

What used to be simply an exercise in charity is increasingly becoming a discipline for determining where businesses operate, how they operate, and why they do what they do as opposed to other alternatives. As these disciplines take hold, expect the field of corporate citizenship to transition rapidly.

The winds of change are sweeping through BCLC, as well. Traditionally, we were more of a philanthropic, humanitarian assistance, and development organization, but in the past two years we’ve begun to build relationships with NOAA, EPA, Forestry, and various water and sustainability groups.

Our members don’t want to think just in terms of situational crises, but in terms of systemic approaches.  They don’t want to be called on just to respond to issues; increasingly, they want to be consulted in the planning process. They don’t want to be asked just to financially support a cause or organization, they want to be able to leverage their employees skills and expertise, their products and services, and other assets.

Companies are increasingly differentiating between assistance (charity, ‘giving away fish’), and development (investment, ‘teaching people how to fish’). They are thinking about how they interact with their external environment more strategically, holistically, and systemically. Very few companies talk about ‘social responsibility’ any more. Increasingly, they are talking about their long-term survival.

So where is CSR going? ‘CSR,’ as a label, may be going away, but its successor disciplines appear to be just getting started. These are exciting times."


Weiteres zum Thema

Stephen Jordan ist Senior Vice President & Executive Director des Business Civic Leadership Center der U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Blogbeitrag "Where is CSR going?"

Internetseite des Business Civic Leadership Center