Embedding CSR into Corporate Culture: Challenging the Executive Mind

by Diane L. Swanson

Edgerley Family Chair of Distinction,
College of Business Administration, Kansas State University
Palgrave Macmillan

Embedding CSR into Corporate Culture demonstrates that a new frontier for corporate social responsibility is possible in theory and practice. The key idea – discovery leadership – enables corporate managers to deal effectively with problems, issues, and value clashes occurring at the corporation-society interface. Amoral leadership and executive myopia are replaced by normative receptivity and value attunement that embed value awareness in corporate culture. The discovery executive leverages this awareness by activating the values that facilitate constructive relationships with the firm’s stakeholders. As a practical result, employee engagement in corporate social responsibility is strengthened while the need for social control of business is lessened. Both business and society benefit from discovery leadership because value-attuned decision making yields better economic, social, and environmental performance than is possible when myopic executives are at the helm. Therefore, discovery leadership should serve as the organizing principle for reshaping management practice, reforming management education, and restoring the public’s confidence in business.