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Global Corporate Social Responsibility

Dr. Julie Rothbardt, Department of Political Economy and Commerce, Monmouth College

Defining CSR

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has been defined by interest groups, organizations, and academicians in several different ways; there is no universally accepted definition of corporate social responsibility in the literature (O'Riordan & Fairbrass, 2008). One definition that provides us a way to think about CSR was provided by the World Business Council of Sustainable Development (1998). They define corporate social responsibility as "continuing commitment by business to contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families as well as of the community and society at large (World Business Council, 1998)."

One can break down the components of corporate social responsibility into two areas that have been considered in prior studies: those factors that focus on the internal environment of the firm (treatment of women and minorities, employee relations and advancement potential) and those factors that focus on the external environment (treatment of the environment, external perceptions of quality and external perceptions of employee compensation due to marketplace comparisons) (Rothbardt, 2012). Additionally, research by Zhang & Gowan (2008) broke CSR into three dimensions (economic, legal and ethical responsibility).

Teaching CSR

This course will look at business as it relates to ethics and social responsibility. Specifically, the issues of the environment, human rights, corruption, employee and community relations, philanthropy and product quality will be will be the focus as they pertain to international laws, customs, and global business practices and societal impact.

This is a contemporary and relevant business topic that touches on multiple areas of business: strategy, global trade, human resources, environmental justice, the law, and employee relations. This is the first integrated studies course at Monmouth College that focuses on the management and leadership side of business ethics with practical learning outcomes.

Environmental Justice and CSR

As one focuses on the components of CSR, environmental justice is addressed as 1) a political and legal aspect of global business, and 2) a fundamental guiding ethic in sustainable business practice. From an environmental justice perspective, students will learn of the effects that their business decisions will have on resource allocation, environmental practices, and global community development.

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