Corporate Social Responsibility, Trust, and Using History to Develop Managers

31 07 2021

On Sunday evening (UK time), I’m going to be presenting my research at the Academy of Management virtual conference as part of a panel on Corporate Social Responsibility, Trust, and Using History to Develop Managers

Effective Strategies to Promote the Teaching of History in Business Schools
Author: Andrew D A Smith; U. of Liverpool
Author: Suwen Chen; U. of Edinburgh business school
Author: John Millar; University of Durham

The recent historic turn in management has seen scholars debate whether, why, and how history can be useful to managers (Wadhwani, Suddaby, Mordhorst, & Popp, 2018; Argyres, De Massis, Foss, Frattini, Jones, & Silverman, 2019). Many business schools, including elite ones in the United States, now include history in the curriculum at the undergraduate, postgraduate, and MBA levels (Friedman & Jones, 2017). Much of the extant research on the place of history in the management school curriculum is informed by the belief that the acquisition of at least some types of historical knowledge is useful because it improves the ability of managers to make decisions. Unfortunately, the existing literature on the teaching of history in business schools does not give us a clear understanding of precisely how and why teaching history would improve the subsequent job performance of management learners. Moreover, we currently lack an understanding of how business-school students and their prospective employers perceive the inclusion of different types of history in the business-school curriculum. This paper remedies these important gaps in the literature. In this paper, we discuss a major initiative to promote the teaching of history to management students in a number of countries. This project is worthy of an extended and systematic study because it has survived a number of market tests and has attracted students in different national contexts. We used interviews with the teachers and students to learn more about why management learners value the course associated with this project. We also offer an explanation as to why this initiative to teach history to management learners has been successful. We then establish broader lessons for the ongoing debate about whether, why, and how history should be taught to future and current business people. We tentatively conclude that student and external stakeholder support for an increase in the amount of historical instruction in management schools will be maximized if curriculum designers focus on the teaching of domain-specific historical knowledge.

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Who do you trust? Human Relations and Social Embeddedness
Author: Jeffrey Muldoon; Emporia State U.
Author: Laura Singleton; Eckerd College
Author: Richard H. Jonsen; Rowan U.

Our purpose is to compare the thinking of Chester Barnard and Elton Mayo, two of the major figures in the Human Relations movement. Drawing upon their writings and correspondence, as well as prior work by others, we focus on their ideas regarding the development and maintenance of cooperation, a key theme of their writings. Against the context of labor strife, both men recognized the need for the establishment of incentives and routines to build trust between management and labor. Much of their work underlies arguments that later organizational behavior theorists have used, especially in their criticisms of economic incentives as a sole stimulus for cooperation. From their arguments, we can see the importance of social embeddedness as an important consideration in determining cooperation.

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The Historicity of Corporate Social Responsibility in the United States and Britain
Author: Michael Heller; Brunel U.
Author: Kevin D. Tennent; U. of York
Author: Jeffrey Muldoon; Emporia State U.

Our purpose is to examine the historical nature of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), a pillar of business practice, strategy, and research. Traditional narratives place the development of CSR as a response to the post-World War II world, where an educated public demanded business to pursue more ethical policies. The genesis of this movement is Bowen’s seminal book on CSR, published in 1953. However, we offer a counter-narrative. We argue that the real genesis of CSR in both Great Britain and the United States was an attempt by business to gain legitimacy from employees as the work relationship switched from transitory workers to permanent employees at the end of the nineteenth century. Early CSR was an attempt to reduce information asymmetries, gain worker loyalty and trust, and reduce labor costs such as theft, destruction of property and absenteeism. This was not an altruistic response, but an example of enlightened self-interest, as well as a more nefarious response to reduce industrial action among workers.

view paper (if available)

Corporate Social Responsibility, Trust, and Using History to Develop Managers (session 630)


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