Thursday, April 27, 2006

Should Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) be taken seriously?

I just came home from attending a lecture given by my friend, Felix Martin, Alum of Manchester Business School on CSR. For simplicity, he titled the presentation "Should psychology of CSR permeate management decision making?". Felix is corporate counsel at GE Commercial Finance. Based on the case studies and discussions that took place, I split companies generally into:

  1. Those who does not have the budget or has the inclination to see benefits CSR brings
  2. Those who has a budget but are bad executioners due to lack of senior management buy-in
  3. Those who build it into organisational culture, thereby using CSR to achieve competitive advantage

In my books, GE falls into the 3rd category. This is mainly due to the existing culture. GE wants to be the leaders in whatever they do. Therefore, senior management has taken CSR into the heart of the organisation.

Felix was kind enough to depart with the following image:



All I want to say with this image is that at the centre, we have "be open and transparent". Isn't that blogging!

ebdex continues to adopt an open and transparent policy - hence the start of this blog to get that message informally out into the public domain.

The image infact address two issues, corporate governance and CSR. Can you guess which squares applies to which?

How can a young company like ebdex promote CSR? Do we have time to even allocate few hours to discuss such? Perhaps not! But we can run the organisation as ethically as one can. Perhaps adapting BASDA code of practise is one way towards that goal. This is strictly not CSR, but it is in the right direction.

I will leave you with a quote from GE's Jeff Immelt "if you want to be the most admired company of the 21st century, you have to not just perform, hit your numbers, be great, but you also have to have a real connection with the world, be good". Doesn't this simply boil down to common sense?

If you are interested, further information on CSR can be found through Business in the Community website. Few interesting blogs on CSR: McDonalds and CSR in China.

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