Promoting, Advancing CSR And MBA Programs
Poor business conduct has devastated the lives of the general public. This kind of behavior is completely in line with traditional economic theory. Recently, however, MBA programs have started to take a vested interest in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), or the study of making ethical business decisions.
Milton Friedman, one of the most influential economists of the 20th century, emphatically argued against mixing the consideration of public interest into business strategy. He set a dangerous expectation for company executives to fulfill, which was to divorce themselves from the interests of their friends and families and only focus on making stockholders money.
Bad business practices have called this line of reasoning into question. The Enron scandal is one prominent example. This and other cases have fueled a distrust in business.
Writing for Forbes, Doug Guthrie characterized irresponsible business decisions as detrimental from virtually any angle. “Assessed individually they are frequently tales of greed gone bad; assessed globally, they reveal a pattern of abuse that undermines the social compact corporations have with their stockholders, consumers and society,” he said.
Some of the best MBA programs in the world have stepped up their programs in CSR to help future business people improve the reputation of business as a wider industry. A few of the best programs in the world are described below.
Stanford University – Stanford’s B-school not only exposes its students to business ethics, it has led some development of the field. First years are required to take Ethics in Management and Strategic Leadership, but further courses are also available, such as Real-Life Ethics.
Harvard University – The business school at Harvard has always engaged in ethical discussions since its founding in 1908, so the topic is embedded in the school’s offerings. However, the program received some stimulation after the Enron scandal in the early 2000s. Courses in human resources and corporate finance touch on ethical questions, whereas others bring in multiple disciplines to analyze corporate decision making. Leadership and Corporate Accountability is a great example, which leverages law, psychology, economics, and organizational behavior to develop the grey intersections of morals and business with science.
George Washington University – The George Washington MBA Institute of Corporate Responsibility may be new (2006), but it is already more influential when it comes to ethics than many of its contemporaries. The core curriculum includes some of the Institute’s classes, which focus on the practical aspects of ethical considerations. This boils down to focus on application and action, as opposed to highfalutin theory.
INSEAD – One of the best of Europe’s B-schools, INSEAD’s Social Innovation Centre places corporations in their broader economic, environmental, and social context. The school leads a number of different areas of research, including CSR, ethical consumerism, ethics of defaults, and business and marketing ethics.
Dartmouth Tuck School of Business – Home of the Allwin Initiative for Corporate Citizenship, Tuck takes a firm stance on CSR. It requires its students to take credits in the field, and the Allwin Initiative has collaborated with international nonprofits and furthered discussion of business practices with regard to ethical considerations.
What About You?
So MBA programs have started to take a vested interest in corporate social responsibility or the study of making ethical business decisions. How do you feel about that? We’d love to hear your opinion in the comments below.
About the author
Julianna Davies, a staff writer for a site analyzing the rankings of the best MBA schools of 2012, today shares her insight on the growing need for corporate social responsibility in MBA programs around the world. ViralBlog has written a couple of articles about unethical business practices recently, and Julianna’s identification of five schools leading the way in ethics curricula should prove useful to anyone contemplating formal business training.