CBS - Center for Business in Society

CBS – Center for Business and Society

Research

In order to meet its goals across the broad range of issues focused upon by the center, the CBS divides its activities into two different Research Units. Each unit focuses on the study of particular topics, while at the same time exploiting any synergies arising from the relationships between the different units and their lines of research.

Research Units are:

  • Sustainable Enterprise
  • Corporate Social Responsibility and Reputation

Each unit defines its own lines of research within the center’s overall mission.

  • Documents and publications
  • Virtue in Business and Management Interest Group

The Research Unit on "Sustainable Enterprise" initially has the following basic lines of research, which guide its projects and activities:

Balanced scorecard for sustainable enterprise governance

The bodies responsible for corporate governance and management are beginning to acknowledge the need to expand and rebalance the set of indicators used to monitor company performance. Alongside the classic indicators, they are starting to include others that provide more information about the company’s future. The goal of this research project is to see how sustainability can be taken into account in this more comprehensive set of indicators.

Company-stakeholder dialogue

One of the unmistakable characteristics of sustainable enterprise is its greater openness to the environment and its firmer commitment to the wider system to which business belongs. In this connection, maintaining an open, honest and fluid dialogue with stakeholders is becoming increasingly important. Equally vital is the need to manage this dialogue and see to it that the results are taken into account in companies’ strategy formulation and innovation processes. One of the goals of this line of research is to develop a model that will help companies to manage their stakeholder dialogue effectively and the impact it has on their strategy development and innovation processes.

Governance of sustainable enterprise

In recent years various initiatives have been undertaken to improve corporate governance. Along similar lines, we aim to contribute to the debate on why and how sustainability should be taken on board by companies' senior governance bodies.

Impact of environmental and social issues on companies' value creation processes

From a social and ethical point of view there can be little doubt that companies need to adopt a broader understanding of their role in society. But what impact will this broader understanding have on companies' ability to generate economic value? This line of research sets out to answer this question.

Impact of government on sustainability in companies

As many studies have shown, government is the environmental factor with the greatest influence on companies’ contribution to sustainable development. We aim to develop a simulation model to determine what kind of government action is most likely to have a favorable impact on that contribution.

Social entrepreneurship

Social entrepreneurship (SE) understood as initiatives aimed at both social and economic wealth creation is not a new phenomenon but only recently have researchers started investigating this topic more systematically. Our objective is to apply scientific rigor to studying the phenomenon of SE such that we create fundamental learning and understanding that can be transferred to businesses in profit/nonprofit organizations, local entrepreneurs, large multinationals and academia. We believe that significant learning can be generated for large established firms to diversify their value creation potential and to discover opportunities with respect to multiple dimensions of performance.

Socially responsible investment

The creation of investment indexes such as the Dow Jones Sustainability Family Indexes or the FTSE4Good, together with the growth in socially responsible investment funds, has attracted a lot of attention in companies. The goal of this line of research is to monitor this issue and its influence on companies.

Sustainable enterprise

The role that companies now play as the basic building blocks of the economic and social fabric makes them probably the most important players in the drive towards sustainable development. Yet it remains unclear in what way companies have changed, nor in what ways they still need to change, in order to assist the transition to a more sustainable model of development.

The base of the pyramid (BOP) as a source of business opportunities

The 4 billion people who make up the base of the social pyramid have traditionally been ignored by business. Still, a few pioneering companies have shown that it is possible to create businesses at the BOP and have even come to realize that the BOP represents their best option for profitable growth. This new attitude may be one of the factors that will contribute most effectively to the much needed social development of the BOP.

Virtue in Business and Management Interest Group

Virtue ethics is a school of thought that encompases both deontological ethics (duty or rule based) and consequentialist (based on good outcomes). At the same time, virtue ethics goes further in taking account of personal character and human development and excellence. In this sense, the purpose of a company should be to create a community context for people to acquire and practice virtue.

The Interest Group aims to be a reference in the development of Virtue ethics in business and management, in theory as well as in practice.

Activities

To achieve its goal the Interest Group intends to:

  • Organize special tracks in conferences, IESE, EBEN, EABIS and ISBEE.
  • Publish special journal issues, Journal of Business Ethics; Business Ethics: A European Review; Business Ethics Quarterly; Business and Society Review; Journal of Human Values; as well as edited volumes (Springer, Edward Elgar, …)
  • Design and develop teaching notes and case materials for virtue-based business ethics modules and programs. 
  • Preparate regular contributions to the Mercatornet.com newsletter on business ethics and management issues. 
  • Create a webpage with electronic resources on virtue ethics in business management. Produce and electronic discussion forum for virtue-based business ethics and management issues.

Projects

Call for Papers. Special Track on Virtue in Business and Management at the EBEN Research Conference 2009.
Participants are asked to provide a detailed abstract of their planned presentation (about 500 words) accompanied by a short biographical note (100 words) and full mailing and e-mail addresses. Proposals should be sent in Word or RTF format no later than February 15, 2009 by e-mail to vbm@iese.edu.

Contact

Center for Business in Society
IESE Barcelona