What is the Answer?
Recently, in my undergraduate Ethics and Social Responsibility course, a student relayed her experience of studying abroad in a multi-discipline setting. Most of the other students in the program were from non-business settings, such as political psychology, pre-law, sociology, philosophy, language, and other courses. From comments made during the course, she had the distinct impression that business was viewed as the enemy to CSR and that business could never be part of sustainable solutions. Sensing that perspective, she did not advertise that she was a marketing major, or strongly share her opinions on how, in fact, business could be part of a solution for seeing real, positive change in the world. The other students were firmly of the opinion that only through policy changes and governmental regulation could social and environmental issues be resolved.
As we discussed her experience in class, it was apparent to us that to see real and lasting changes in the world, it will take input from all sectors. Local, regional, and national governments, non-governmental organizations, businesses and industries, and individuals all have vital roles to play. It is as naïve to think that there are certain magical regulations that will fix all the world’s problems, as it is to think that all individuals will suddenly start making personal sustainable choices, or that businesses will all shift their foci from shareholder value maximization to stakeholder value maximization.
The need and opportunity for contributions from a variety of stakeholders is one of the great features about this journal. There is no ‘one size fits all’ mentality; every one and every organization has an important role to play. Illustrating the rich variety of perspectives supported here at Business & Society are several recent articles available in OnlineFirst: An examination of narratives and assumptions underlying conceptualizations of CSR by Feix and Philippe, a 92-country empirical study of how policy choices can help address income inequality-economic growth challenges by Patel, Doh, and Bagchi, and a qualitative study of how managers actually implement CSR initiatives in organizations by Hunoldt, Oertel, and Galander, among many other insightful articles.
So, if you’re looking for a journal to regularly read and submit your research to that embraces a wide range of perspectives on CSR and sustainability, welcome home to Business & Society.
Tim Hart, The University of Tulsa