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The High Impact of Collaborative Social
Article  in  MIT Sloan Management Review · March 2005
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Some of the authors of this publication are also working on these related projects:
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An Assessment of the Role of Latin America in the Core International Business Literature View project
John A Pearce
Villanova University
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Jonathan P. Doh
Villanova University
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The High Impact of
Collaborative Social
Initiatives
SPRING XXXXXXXXXXVOL.46 NO.3
REPRINT NUMBER 46309
John A. Pearce II and Jonathan P. Doh
Please note that gray areas reflect artwork that has
een intentionally removed. The substantive content
of the article appears as originally published.
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30 MIT SLOAN MANAGEMENT REVIEW SPRING 2005
n 1999, William Ford Jr. angered Ford Motor Co. executives and investors
when he wrote that “there are very real conflicts between Ford’s cu
ent
usiness practices, consumer choices and emerging views of (environ-
mental) sustainability.” In his company citizenship report, the grandson of
Henry Ford, then the automaker’s nonexecutive chairman, even appeared to endorse
a Sie
a Club statement declaring that “the gas-guzzling SUV is a rolling monument
to environmental destruction.”
Bill Ford has had to moderate his strongest environmental beliefs since assuming
the company’s CEO position in October 2001, just after the Firestone tire scandal.
Nevertheless, while he has strived to improve Ford’s financial performance and
estore trust among its diverse stakeholders, he remains strongly committed to cor-
porate responsibility and environmental protection. In his words, “A good company
delivers excellent products and services, and a great company does all that and strives
to make the world a better place.”1
Today, Ford is a leader in producing vehicles that run on alternative sources of
fuel, and it is performing as well as any of its major North American rivals, all of
whom are involved in intense global competition. The new CEO is successfully pur-
suing a strategy that is producing improved financial performance, increased confi-
dence in the
and and clear evidence that the car company is committed to
contributing more
oadly to society. Among Ford’s more notable outreach efforts
are an innovative HIV/AIDS initiative in South Africa, which is now expanding to
India, China and Thailand;2 a partnership with the U.S. National Parks Foundation
to provide environmentally friendly transportation for park visitors;3 and significant
support for the Clean Air Initiative for Asian Cities.4
Ford’s actions are emblematic of the corporate social responsibility (CSR) initia-
tives of many leading companies today. Corporate-supported social initiatives are
now a given. For some time now, many Fortune 500 corporations have been creating
senior management positions dedicated to helping their organizations “give back”
more effectively. CSR is now almost universally em
aced by top managers as an inte-
gral component of their executive roles, whether motivated by self-interest, altruism,
strategic advantage or political gain.5 Their outreach is usually plain to see on the
companies’ corporate Web sites.
Corporate social responsibility is high on the agenda at major executive gatherings
such as the World Economic Forum. It is very much in evidence during times of tragedy
— as seen in the corporate responses to the Asian tsunami of last December — and it is
the subject of many conferences, workshops and newsletters. “Consultancies have
sprung up to advise companies on how to do corporate social responsibility and how to
John A. Pearce II is a professor of strategic management and entrepreneurship at the College
of Commerce and Finance, Villanova University, and is director of the college’s Entrepreneurship
Research Center. Jonathan P. Doh is an assistant professor of management and director of the
Center for Responsible Leadership and Governance, College of Commerce and Finance, Vil-
lanova University. Contact them at XXXXXXXXXX and XXXXXXXXXX.
The High Impact of Collabo
Corporate social respon-
sibility has become a vital
part of the business
conversation. Research
points to five principles
that underscore how
collaboration provides the
est combination of social
and strategic payoffs.
John A. Pearce II and
Jonathan P. Doh
I
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ative Social Initiatives
let it be known that they are doing it,” noted The Economist in a
survey on corporate social responsibility earlier this year.6
Executives face conflicting pressures to contribute to social
esponsibility, while honoring their duties to maximize share-
holder value. These days they face many belligerent critics who
challenge the idea of a single-minded focus on profits — witness
the often violent antiglobalization protests in recent years. They
also face skeptics who contend that corporate social responsibil-
ity initiatives are chiefly a convenient marketing gloss. It is not
the intent of this article to question the appropriateness of exec-
utives’ CSR activities or to judge their sincerity. Rather, we start
from the assumption that many organizations are eager to
improve their CSR effectiveness.
The issue is not whether companies will engage in socially
esponsible activities, but how they should do so. For most
companies, the central challenge is how best to achieve the max-
imum social benefit from a limited amount of resources avail-
able for social projects.7
In our studies of dozens of social responsibility initiatives at
major corporations, we have found that senior managers strug-
gle to find the right balance between “low engagement” solu-
tions such as charitable gift giving and “high commitment”
solutions that run the risk of diverting attention from the com-
pany’s core mission. (See “About the Research,” p. 32.) In this
article, we discuss the findings of our research that show how
collaborative social initiatives (CSIs) — a form of engagement
in which companies provide ongoing and sustained commit-
ments to a social project or issue — provide the best combina-
tion of social and strategic impact for companies.
The Core of the Corporate Social Responsibility Debate
The proper role of corporate social responsibility — the actions
of a company to benefit society beyond the requirements of the
law and the direct interests of shareholders — has generated a
century’s worth of philosophically and economically intriguing
debates.8 Since steel baron Andrew Carnegie published The
Gospel of Wealth in 1889, the argument that businesses are the
trustees of societal property that should be managed for the pub-
lic good has been seen as one end of a continuum, while at the
other end is the belief that profit maximization is management’s
only legitimate goal. The CSR debate had been largely confined
to the background for most of the 20th century, making the news
after a major event such as an oil spill, when a consumer product
caused harm or when an ethics scandal reopened the question of
usiness’s fundamental purpose.
The debate surfaced in more positive ways in the last 30 years as
new businesses set up shop with altruism very much in mind and
on display. Firms such as ice-cream maker Ben & Je
y’s Home-
made Holdings Inc. argued that CSR and profits do not clash; thei
stance was that doing good led to making good money too. That
line of thinking has gained popularity as more executives have
come to understand the value of their companies’ reputations with
SPRING 2005 MIT SLOAN MANAGEMENT REVIEW 31
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Answered Same DayFeb 09, 2022

Solution

Parul answered on Feb 10 2022
38 Votes
The black hat represents caution and warns us of danger before delving deeper into the idea. Basically, it keeps us from performing anything immoral, unethical and unprofitable etc. With reference to the article The High Impact of Collaborative Social Initiatives by John A. Pearce II and Jonathan P. Doh talks about role of Corporate Social Responsibility - initiatives that organisation takes to bolster the community, benefit the society beyond the average requirement of government and direct interest of different shareholders. Applying the Black Hat on the article it is...
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