Wednesday, May 4, 2011

New Generation of Socially Responsible Employees Head Our Way (Guest Blog)

Guest Blog by Mariana Ashley

Paul Light, of NYU's Wagner School of Public Service, recently wrote a very impressive article at his blog at The Washington Post about how business schools and programs can serve as an excellent starting point for teaching students—the future of business—about the importance of social responsibility. Essentially, you could call his article a 'call to arms,' in that Light is attempting to inspire his readers, many of whom most likely count themselves to be his colleagues in business schools across the country, to consider requiring their students to pass courses concerning social impact.

Light notably closes the article with the following statement: "Making social impact part of every student's curriculum would send the signal that social impact is an essential skill for any destination, while telling students that changing the world is part of a life well live."

Light does address some possible counterarguments: he remarks that such an expanded requirement means that other, perhaps more traditional courses would have to be bumped; he recognizes that many programs have already incorporated courses on ethical business practices and corporate responsibility into their curricula as electives; and he points out that students interested in corporate social responsibility are also interested in, well, having a career that pays the bills.

In other words, he is aware of the difficulties that such a 'call to arms' creates for his readership.

But this doesn't keep him from making the call, of course, though it does severely limit his ability to set out a significant plan that other schools might implement should they want to follow his lead. Instead, Light points to what he perceives to be exemplary prototypes of this new impulse in business programs: NU's Kellogg School of Management and his own Wagner School, which are both "great steps" in the right direction.

So what, then, does this mean for the CSR movement? Well, should this impulse in business programs take root and grow healthily, it means that those concerned in fostering a sense of social responsibility among their companies will have a much better and more successful project due to the receptiveness of their audience. And, most likely, this same audience will also provide a great resource, bringing their own fresh ideas to that same project. Corporations would do well to seek out the most talented job candidates who have graduated from these and similar programs, as they will certainly be the next generation to lead the charge in the name of corporate social responsibility.

About the Blogger

Mariana Ashley is a freelance writer who particularly enjoys writing about online colleges. She loves receiving reader feedback, which can be directed to mariana.ashley031