SOSC 3040 SYLLABUS 10-11 - AS/SOSC 3040 6.0 CORPORATE...

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AS/SOSC 3040 6.0 CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY Course Director: Allan Greenbaum Office: N743 Ross Office Hours: Wednesday 2:45-4:00 pm or by appointment E-mail: [email protected] Lecture Time: Friday 12:30-2:30pm. Location: Curtis Lecture Hall K Course Description: This course investigates the theory and practice of Corporate Social Responsibility programs, including the normative and social science analysis of particular issues and practices, as well as their role in regulation and legitimation in larger political economy regimes. Definitions of corporate social responsibility (CSR) tend to be hazy. Here’s a typical one, from the federal government’s Industry Canada website: Corporate social responsibility is necessarily an evolving term that does not have a standard definition or a fully recognized set of specific criteria. With the understanding that businesses play a key role on job and wealth creation in society, CSR is generally understood to be the way a company achieves a balance or integration of economic, environmental, and social imperatives while at the same time addressing shareholder and stakeholder expectations…. The way businesses engage/involve the shareholders, employees, customers, suppliers, governments, non-governmental organizations, international organizations, and other stakeholders is usually a key feature of the concept. While business compliance with laws and regulations on social, environmental and economic objectives set the official level of CSR performance, CSR is often understood as involving the private sector commitments and activities that extend beyond this foundation of compliance with laws…. CSR commitments and activities typically address aspects of a firm's behaviour (including its policies and practices) with respect to such key elements as; health and safety, environmental protection, human rights, human resource management practices, corporate governance, community development, and consumer protection, labour protection, supplier relations, business ethics, and stakeholder rights. A vast and ever-growing literature of books, articles, websites, consultant’s reports etc. tells business managers why and how to manage corporations in socially responsible ways, or to trumpet the extent to which they have done so. In this course, we will not focus on the “how-to”. Rather, we will approach CSR from an interdisciplinary academic perspective, using philosophical analysis, social theory, and empirical social science to examine CSR as an idea and a social practice. We begin the course by analyzing CSR mainly from the perspective of normative analysis. What does it mean for a company to be socially responsible? Can an organization have moral responsibilities, and if so, how? What is the nature and extent of the moral responsibilities of corporations (or managers acting in their capacity as
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corporate “directing minds”)? Responsibilities to whom? Do firms have different kinds of responsibilities to different kinds of stakeholders, and if so why?
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