Companies Shifting the CSR Paradigm
Ismael Bena - MBA, Management Consultant, Netherlands, SIG Leader
Which parties are most likely to cause a paradigm shift in CSR?
MULTI NATIONAL CORPORATIONS (MNCs)
During the 2014 World Economic Forum, Multi National Corporations were called upon to become the initiators of paradigm shifts in favor of our society (Ki-Moon, 2014), since MNC’s wield great influence and have far reach besides tremendous assets, to direct the course towards change.
The hidden contradiction of this calling is that many MNC’s would have to object and terminate business practices they are conformable with because of their high yield, if they want to stop burdening society and the environment.
Due to these contradicting objectives, MNC’s are not likely to be the precursors of (social) change through their entrepreneurial activities. When it comes to the adoption of CSR, their actions are frequently seen as an ‘add-on’, which often get sacrificed during business cycle downturns, management overhauls or political cycles (Epstein & Roy, 2003, et. Al), ultimately maintaining the status quo.
SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURS (SEs)
When we consider ‘real’ entrepreneurial change agents, we rapidly arrive at Social Entrepreneurs. SEs are individuals which are attracted by the opportunity to alter the existing (prevailing) equilibrium – the dominant culture and practices specific business sectors maintain to conduct business at the expense of society and environment, such as for example accepting child labor in their supply chain.
For the creation of a new ‘superior equilibrium’ through an SE, the old ‘unfortunate stable equilibrium’ needs to be rendered obsolete, and it goes against incumbent corporation interest to support SEs to trigger systemic civic change (Martin & Osberg, 2007:36). Oftentimes, the drivers between these two groups differ in their perception of Value versus Values, (e.g. the monetary kind of value, versus SE's altruism, aiming for transformational change).
Therefore it is in society's best interest to encourage SEs, if the needed equilibrium shift needs to occur in our lifetime. .