Embrace Blog Post – Industry Focus

by Digital Technology Skills Limited (DTSL)

The first in a series of blog posts which looks at Corporate Social Entrepreneurship as the end point of a journey which begins with Corporate Social Responsibility.

Corporate Social Entrepreneurship (CSE) is ‘a way of doing business’ so that all staff in any given organisation (public, private or third sector) are fully aware of their role, responsibility and contribution to the sustainable socioeconomic enhancement of their organisations and the communities in which they live and work. The CSE process includes: creating an enabling entrepreneurial environment, fostering corporate social intrapreneurship, amplifying corporate purpose and values as well as building strategic alliances in order to solve economic and social problems and to promote the success of emerging innovative business strategies.

Corporate Social Responsibility – Beginning the Journey to Corporate Social Entrepreneurship

To understand Corporate Social Entrepreneurship (CSE) it is necessary to gain an understanding of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), the  starting  point  of  the  journey.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Social Responsibility (SR), Corporate Governance (CG) and Corporate Citizenship (CC) are all terms used to describe CSR in academic literature and on company websites.  As a result there are broad working contexts of Corporate Social Responsibility, however, regardless of the terminology used, McWilliams, Siegel, & Wright, 2006, note that each one refers to how a company intentionally goes beyond compliance with the law in pursuing “good actions that appear to further some social good, beyond the interests of the firm.”  Effectively, CSR defines the contribution an organisation makes to the local community or more broadly to society. 

CSR activities are far ranging which is reflective of the diversity of the companies who participate in it.  It can include the company’s core business activities or, how it supports the local community or society in general.   These contributions can include social characteristics or features incorporated into a company’s products and manufacturing processes such as developing chemical free household cleaning products, using environmentally-friendly manufacturing technologies or recycling packaging to be reused for newly created products.  Adopting progressive human resource management practices in corporate citizenship (e.g. promoting employee empowerment), achieving higher levels of environmental performance (e.g. recycling or reducing CO2 emissions) and supporting community or global organisations to achieve their goals, particularly those in the not for profit sector are all examples of CSR in action. Numerous articles agree that having a CSR strategy is not just good for society but it also creates a range of benefits for the business, including staff engagement and retention, driving innovation and productivity, opening up new markets and increasing brand awareness and reputation,  Forbes, 2020US Chamber of Commerce Foundation, 2019HBR, 2015.  Notable instances of corporate social responsibility go beyond addressing surface-level sustainability efforts or corporate philanthropy. Leaders in these organisations are collaborating with employees, stakeholders, clients, partners, academia, government and society in a range of initiatives that address significant current and emerging societal issues.

Embrace is an EU funded Research Project to promote Corporate Social Entrepreneurship (CSE) in HEI educational programmes and improve students’ competences, employability and attitudes contributing to the creation of new business opportunities dealing with social change inside companies as well as promoting collaboration among companies.

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