Responsible Management Education – Are Schools Walking Their Talk?

business-graphics-1428641-m[We’re pleased to welcome Andreas Rasche of Copenhagen Business School. Dr. Rasche recently published an article in the July issue of Journal of Management Inquiry with Dirk Ulrich Gilbert of the University of Hamburg entitled “Decoupling Responsible Management Education: Why Business Schools May Not Walk Their Talk.”]

In the recent past business school education has been increasingly in the line of fire. The public, politicians, and scholars alike blamed business schools to educate the wrong people in the wrong ways, paving the way for irresponsible management practices. Driven by discussions about whether and to what extent business schools contributed to the 2008-2009 financial crisis and to large-scale corporate accounting scandals, the discourse on responsible management education has gained traction. Schools are increasingly asked to educate students in a way that they build up knowledge related to corporate responsibility, sustainability, and ethics. Numerous initiatives have problematized “traditional” management education by calling on business schools to adapt to new realities. Initiatives like the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) and the Globally Responsible Leadership Initiative (GRLI) have called on business schools to embed relevant discussions into their curricula and extracurricular activities. These initiatives are popular and many schools publicly support their underlying agenda (e.g., 554 schools had signed onto PRME as of July 2014).

Our paper that appears in Journal of Management Inquiry titled “Decoupling Responsible Management Education – Why Business Schools JMI_72ppiRGB_powerpointMay Not Walk Their Talk” offers a hard look at the soft practice of responsible management education. We argue that responsible management education increasingly exposes schools to institutional pressures that can hardly be neglected (e.g., due to changing accreditation criteria). We further argue that while schools may respond to these pressures by modifying some of their formal structures (e.g., new policies and committees), there is a risk that under certain conditions they will decouple these structures from everyday organizational practices. Our analysis explores these conditions and suggests that decoupling is likely to occur when: (1) schools only have limited resources available, (2) there is resistance by powerful organizational actors, (3) schools face competing non-aligned institutional pressures, and when (4) organizational actors perceive institutional demands as ambiguous and hence believe that symbolic adoption will remain undiscovered.

We are not claiming that all business schools decouple talk from action when it comes to responsible management education. What we are claiming is that due to the organizational characteristics of business schools (e.g., protection of academic freedom) and the specific nature of institutional pressures surrounding responsible management education, there is a risk that some schools may decouple relevant structural effects. We believe that a discussion of whether, how and why business schools may decouple responsible management education is timely. As of July 2014, 43 schools were delisted from the PRME initiative for failure to comply with the initiative’s mandatory reporting requirements, while nine schools decided to withdraw from the initiative. The bottom line is this: If we really want schools to educate more responsible business leaders, we need to start a discussion about what enables and, most of all, impedes implementation. “Quick fixes”, like adding more elective courses with relevant content, are unlikely to do the job.

You can read “Decoupling Responsible Management Education: Why Business Schools May Not Walk Their Talk” from Journal of Management Inquiry for free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to have all the latest research like this from Journal of Management Inquiry sent directly to your inbox? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

rascheAndreas Rasche is professor of business in society at the Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility at Copenhagen Business School (CBS) and research director of the CBS World-Class Research Environment on “Governing Responsible Business.” He holds a PhD (Dr.rer.pol.) from European Business School, Germany, and a habilitation (Dr.habil.) from Helmut-Schmidt University, Hamburg. His research focuses on corporate responsibility standards (particularly the UN Global Compact), the political role of corporations in transnational governance, and the governance of global supply networks. More information is available at Dirk Ulrich Gilbert is a professor of business ethics at the University of Hamburg, Germany. He received his PhD from

gilbertDirk Ulrich Gilbert is a professor of business ethics at the University of Hamburg, Germany. He received his PhD from Johann Wolfgang Goethe–University in Frankfurt (Germany) and held positions at the University of New South Wales (Sydney, Australia) and the University of Nuremberg (Germany). His most recent research focuses on management education, international accountability standards, and deliberative democracy. He published in internationally acclaimed journals such as Business Ethics Quarterly, Business & Society, Academy of Management Learning and Education, Management International Review, and the Journal of Business Ethics.

How Do Attitudes Towards CSR Influence Job Choices Across Cultures?

BAS_v50_72ppiRGB_powerpoint[We’re pleased to welcome Cedric E. Dawkins of Dalhousie University. Dr. Dawkins recently collaborated with Dima Jamali, Charlotte Karam, Lianlian Lin, and Jixin Zhao on their article “Corporate Social Responsibility and Job Choice Intentions: A Cross-Cultural Analysis” from Business & Society.]

  • What inspired you to be interested in this topic?

The paper was inspired by the travel of the authors and observing the concerns and challenging around CSR and how they varied, but maintained similar presence, in different countries.

  • Were there findings that were surprising to you?

The results of the study, that the preference to work for firms respondents viewed as socially responsible were relatively consistent but the reasons for the preferences differed, did not surprise us in that culture impacts so much of our decision making. It is noteworthy from a decision making/motivation perspective, that the respondents in different countries arrive at the same place by assigning different weights to the same variables.

  • How do you see this study influencing future research and/or practice?

We believe that a clear implication of our paper for recruiters and HR officers is that when seeking international workers the ŒCSR message may be better received if it is tailored to the specific cultural context. This insight is nothing special, but illustrates the need to extend cross-cultural sensitivity to perception of CSR as well.

You can read “Corporate Social Responsibility and Job Choice Intentions: A Cross-Cultural Analysis” from Business & Society free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to know about all the latest research like this from Business & Society? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

dawkinsCedric E. Dawkins (PhD, Ohio State University) is an associate professor of management at the Rowe School of Business at Dalhousie University. His research interests focus on connections between labor rights and corporate social responsibility (CSR), labor union revitalization, and the impact of disclosure on corporate behavior. His work has appeared in journals such as Business & Society, Business Ethics Quarterly, Employee Relations, Journal of Business Communication, and Journal of Business Ethics.

jamaliDima Jamali is a professor of management in the Olayan School of Business at American University of Beirut and currently holds the Kamal Shair Endowed chair in responsible leadership. With a PhD in social policy and administration from the University of Kent at Canterbury, her research revolves primarily around CSR a nd social entrepreneurship (SE). She is the editor of three books (CSR in the Middle East, Social Entrepreneurship in the Middle East, and CSR in Developing Countries), and more than 50 international research publications, focusing on different aspects of CSR and SE in developing countries in general and in the Middle East in particular. Her research record has won her a number of scientific awards and honors, including the Abdul Hameed Shoman Award for Best Young Arab Researcher for 2011.

KaramCharlotte Karam (PhD, University of Windsor) is an assistant professor of organizational behavior in the Olayan School of Business at American University of Beirut. Her research broadly examines responsible engagement at the intersection among gender, corporate responsibility, and employee extra role behavior at work within developing and emerging economies. Most of her research is examined within a multilevel contextual framework, which considers factors relating to societal culture, socioeconomic development, and political stability. Her work has been published in the Asia-Pacific Journal of Management, Business Ethics Quarterly, Career Development International, among other journals. In 2012, she was awarded the university-wide teaching excellence award for her classes in business ethics, leadership development, and organizational behavior.

LinLianlian Lin (PhD, University of Texas at Austin; LLM, University of Pennsylvania Law School) is a professor of management at California State Polytechnic University Pomona. Her research interests focus on cross-cultural issues, multinational management, and law. Her articles have appeared in journals such as Yale Journal of International Law, University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Economic Law, and Journal of Asian American Studies.

Jixin Zhao (DBA, China Agricultural University) is a professor of management and director of MBA Education Center at North China University of Technology. His research interests focus on human resource management and industrial economics. His articles have appeared in journals such as Productivity Studies and Economic Issues. He has published books such as Humanistic Management and Managers Roles and Skills Upgrading.

Read Organization and Environment’s Special Issue for Free!

challenges-1221258-mCan institutional theorists constitute a society to better the relationship between organizations and the natural environment? What is the current state of the research on carbon disclosure? How have researchers addressed the tensions inherent in corporate sustainability? These topics and more are explored in Organization and Environment‘s Special Issue entitled “Review of the Literature on Organizations and Natural Environment: From the Past to the Future.”

Stephanie Bertels and Frances Bowen collaborated on the introduction to the Special Issue:

In summer 2015, the Organizations and the Natural Environment Division of the Academy of Management will celebrate the 20th anniversary of its first formal oae coverconference program back in 1995. Over the past two decades, a vibrant and engaged scholarly community has generated thousands of empirical and conceptual studies on the complex relationships between organizations and their natural and social environments. Each individual study focuses on specific research questions crafted to meet the rigorous requirements of academic journals. However, too often our journal publishing and professional norms push us to focus on small, incremental contributions to knowledge. Anniversaries can remind us to pause, take stock, and build on the past to shape a new future. The Organization & Environment (O&E) editorial board decided to provide a venue for this anniversary celebration: a special issue where as a community of scholars we can reflect on where we have been, what we have learned, and what remains to be understood to both further our field and help society address pressing environmental challenges.

In this first review issue of O&E, we hoped to draw insight and inspiration from in-depth reviews of specific topics. Our call for articles invited authors to reflect on the state of theory, empirical research, and practice in relation to key questions at the interface of organizations and the natural environment. We sought out comprehensive and analytical reviews of recent research that synthesized, integrated, and extended our thinking. We encouraged authors to anchor their thoughts in detailed retrospection on past and current research, and to identify the key theoretical, empirical, methodological, or practical challenges of future O&E research. There was an enthusiastic response from the community of scholars and in the end, we have assembled a group of six articles. Each offers a stand-alone review of a particular phenomenon within the O&E domain. Together they showcase the wide range of scholarship addressing topics ranging from the macro to the micro foundations of our field.

You can read Organization and Environment‘s Special Issue for free for the next 30 days! Click here to access the Table of Contents. Want to know when all the latest research like this becomes available from Organization and Environment? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

Summer Reading: Corporate Wrongdoing and the Art of Accusation

9780857287946_1_2Looking for some summer reading for those hazy, lazy days of July? Donald Palmer’s review of Robert R. Faulker’s book “Corporate Wrongdoing and the Art of Accusation” appeared in the June issue of Administrative Science Quarterly.

Robert R. Faulker: Corporate Wrongdoing and the Art of Accusation. New York: Anthem Press, 2011. 192 pp. $32.95, paper. ISBN 9780857287946.

Inquiry in contemporary organizational theory into the causes of wrongdoing in and by organizations can be neatly packaged in a very small box. It exclusively focuses on the factors that can lead organizational participants and organizations to engage in wrongdoing, concentrating on factors related to rational choice, cultural prescriptions, and performance strain. Further, it analyzes a narrow range of types of wrongdoing: types that result in administrative sanctions, civil judgments, and criminal convictions. Organizational scholars for the most part completely ignore the labeling process by which organizational behaviors are designated wrongful and organizational actors are classified as wrongdoers. This labeling process is an important cause of wrongdoing. Simply put, there can be no wrongdoing unless someone or some organization draws a line separating right from wrong. Organizational theorists for the most part also ignore the large volume of wrongful behaviors that do not result in administrative sanctions, civil ASQ_v59n2_Jun2014_cover.inddjudgments, and legal convictions.

Robert Faulkner’s Corporate Wrongdoing and the Art of the Accusation rectifies these omissions. It focuses on accusations of wrongdoing that are voiced by buyers and suppliers, business partners and competitors, and governmental and non-governmental watchdogs and that are amplified by media organizations and others. Accusations are “between” private complaints and semi-public rumors, on the one hand, and official investigations, indictments, and convictions, on the other. Their intermediate status is reflected in the degree to which they are public and the extent to which they are adjudicated by officially constituted social control agents. As such, accusations, Faulkner contends, are “red flags” and “signs that something is wrong,” by which he means that organizational relationships have broken down and formal social control reactions are on the horizon.

Click here to read the review of Robert R. Faulker’s “Corporate Wrongdoing and the Art of Accusation” from Administrative Science Quarterly. Don’t forget to sign up for e-alerts and get notified of all the latest research and book reviews from Administrative Science Quarterly!

Sustainabilty in Family Businesses

hope-1-1005737-mHow have family businesses responded to the call for sustainable practices? Authors Magali A. Delmas and Olivier Gergaud recently tested their hypothesis that family businesses tend to emphasize a more socially responsible attitude for themselves and their kin by studying family owned and operated wineries in California in their article “Sustainable Certification for Future Generations: The Case of Family Business” from Family Business Review.

The abstract:

Business sustainability has been defined as meeting current needs while providing the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. However, few firms invest in practices geared at sustainability. In thisFBR_C1_revised authors color.indd article, we investigate how family ties to future generations via the intention of transgenerational succession can be associated with the adoption of sustainable practices. Using data from 281 wineries in the United States collected through a survey questionnaire, we show that ties to future generations, measured as the intention of the winery owner to pass down the winery to their children, are associated with the adoption of sustainable certification.

Click here to read “Sustainable Certification for Future Generations: The Case of Family Business” from Family Business ReviewDon’t want to miss out on research like this? Click here to sign up for e-alerts from Family Business Review!


Embracing a Corporate Social Responsibility Agenda

businessman-holding-crystal-globe-1281812-mAre companies who claim a corporate social responsibility agenda actually aligned with its value system? Line Schmeltz explored this topic in his research “Identical or Just Compatible? The Utility of Corporate Identity Values In Communicating Corporate Social Responsibility” from International Journal of Business Communication

The abstract:

This study explores whether companies embracing a corporate social responsibility agenda have a strategic focus on BPCQ/IJBC3.inddadapting and aligning their value systems to reflect such commitment. The analysis is based on empirical data and a conceptual model juxtaposing corporate values, corporate social responsibility values, and implementation to capture how the different configurations of these aspects may impact the communication carried out by corporations. The findings indicate that the companies in the data sample operate with two markedly different value systems. The coexistence of two value systems is discussed in relation to the reported difficulties that companies experience when facing the new and complex challenge of communicating corporate social responsibility.

“Identical or Just Compatible? The Utility of Corporate Identity Values In Communicating Corporate Social Responsibility” from International Journal of Business Communication can be read for free by clicking here. Stay ahead of the game by clicking here to sign up for e-alerts and get all the latest research from International Journal of Business Communication delivered right to your inbox!

Who is Hurt By Corruption in the United States?

brown-envelope-money-bribe-1-1384589-mWhat is the economic impact of corruption? And who is hurt most by these misguided acts? Author Adriana S. Cordis discusses this topic in her article “Corruption and Composition of Public Spending in the United States” from Public Finance Review.

The abstract:

I investigate the relation between corruption and the composition of state government spending in the United States. The analysis reveals that the United States is not immune to the adverse effects of corruption documented in cross-country studies. Corruption lowers the share of state governmentPFR_72ppiRGB_powerpoint spending devoted to higher education and raises the share of spending devoted to other and unallocable budget items. These results are robust to the use of political variables to instrument for corruption. There is also some evidence that corruption lowers the share of spending on corrections and public welfare and raises the share of spending on health and hospitals, housing and community development, and natural resources.

Click here to read “Corruption and Composition of Public Spending in the United States” from Public Finance Review for free. What to get updates on all the latest from Public Finance Review? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!