Today I would like to pick up the topic of your last show. We talked about CSR which stands for “Corporate Social Responsibility”. In times of global markets and increased business competition, Small and Medium sized Enterprises must find a way to increase their competitive edge. Therefore they often try to save costs as a result of competitive conditions and market instabilities. However, maybe a cultural change in companies will give them a competitive advantage? Implementing and practicing CSR may lead to increased costs and you may not see the benefits immediately. So why do successful companies go in that direction? Apparently around 50% of American and European SMEs believe that CSR-activities are somewhat effective for their business. SMEs can change their company culture and provide significant benefits by investing in small, efficient projects in society to increase their own visibility in the community. Some companies may do something good for the environment or donate money and others might start working in close cooperation with Non-Profit and Non-Governmental Organizations. This time I would like to approach the topic from a different angle. CSR is becoming more and more important in business life and thus future managers should have a solid knowledge about it. In previous shows I talked to CSR specalists such as lecturers from different European universities and employees of companies which have implemented CSR in their business plans. Our focus was to find out how CSR work changes the culture within the company but also the contacts between a company and its stake holders. Today my focus is on students and what they learn about CSR during their studies of Business Administration. I interviewed students from Hungary, Russia, and Mongolia who dealt with corporate culture and CSR in their last semester at RheinAhrCampus in Germany in one of my courses called “International Business Simulations”.
absolutely young In our first category I asked Katalin Perjési from Hungary what she thinks about CSR and what she learnt on the course. She will tell us about a project where the students designed and implemented their own CSR projects for the university. They invited school children to the campus to teach them about respect and diversity in the community. Some said afterwards that they walk past the university every day but had never dreamed of spending a day inside before they reach their A-levels. As these were school children who often get taught in classes with many national backgrounds it was not so surprising, how much they already knew about diversity, respect for different cultures and dealing with other children who do not have the same first language.
absolutely green I interviewed Nadya Kokareva from Russia. She will tell us about the vague ideas people have about CSR and gives us some examples of how a university could practice CSR. This is not exclusively about institutions “going green”, which means saving the environment. Nadya also took part in the course and participated in another project. This time, the target group were not the children in the community, but the elderly people who live in a nursing home just 800 metres from campus. In spite of the proximity, the students who took part in the project had never visited the home.
absolutely courageous Oyunbileg is an exchange student from our Turkish partner university in Izmir. However, she is originally from Mongolia and is currently doing her Erasmus semester abroad. In our last category she will talk about her theoretical lectures on stakeholder relationships and relates the theory to the practical CSR projects she was involved in last semester. Finally she gives us an idea of the cultural differences she experienced moving between Mongolia, Turkey and Germany.
Our next show will again be coming to you on 7 of September.
Today I am going to talk about CSR which is short for “Corporate Social Responsibility”. In postmodern times, “Corporate Social Responsibility” has enabled companies to do something good for society and to give something back to the community. Some companies may plant trees or donate money and others might start working in close cooperation with Non-Profit and Non-Governmental Organizations to help people in need. I visited an intercultural Erasmus Intensive Program at Yasar University in Izmir, Turkey, where I got in touch with the big Turkish telecommunications company called “Turkcell”. Together with Corporate Responsiblitly Specialists from Turkcell and university lecturers, who teach CSR-related aspects of marketing we talked about good practice examples of CSR but also about the dark sides of the concept.
absolutely helpful Turkcell afford to have a dedicated department which only deals with CSR issues. In our first category Burcu Haylaz tells us, how their company is doing charity work in Turkey and how quickly they took action after a horrific earthquake struck the province of Van in Eastern Turkey in 2011. Besides that I was really captivated by the “Snowdrops” project for young women and by the idea of the digital moneybox for collecting contributions from the wider public.
absolutely sceptical Unfortunately not every company is really practicing CSR to genuinely help others. Some companies are rather trying to help themselves. Often the campaign appears like 100% marketing for the company. In this category I talked with Ann Knaepen from “Leuven University College” in Belgium, Carla de Lima from the Polytechnic Institute of Bragança in Portugal, Dr. Reka Jablonkai from “Corvinus University” in Hungary and Anne Burke from the “Letterkenny Institute of Technology” in Ireland. Together we talked about the phenomenon of “Green Washing”. This means, that companies that have a bad image in society, are using low-input CSR measures to artificially clean their own image. Green Washing, the negative side of CSR, seems to be an activity which flourishes in the shadow of all the good practice examples of corporate social responsibility. So I guess we need to be careful when we hear about large companies practicing CSR. There is a chance that they may be doing good things for the wrong reasons. Oxfam and Turkcell on the other hand seem to be great examples of companies and organisations that seriously and honestly try to improve the lives of all their stakeholders, not just their customers’.
absolutely idealistic In our last category I would like to come back to our Turkcell CSR specialists. Together with them and the Turkish lecturers, we discussed theoretical aspects of CSR and their practical implementation. My Turkish colleague Duygu Turker who teaches CSR at the university asked Derya Kökten from Turkcell what factors in her view make a CSR activity successful. It is refreshing to hear how the university lecturers and the practitioners were working together on building this bridge between theory and practice in our seminar. I think such encounters, in this case hosted at Yasar University in Izmir, provide excellent opportunities to share important knowledge and to create a network so that students and lecturers from universities and the specialists from companies can work together to find the best solutions.
Our next show will again be coming to you on 3 of August.
Today I am going to talk about CSR which is short for “Corporate Social Responsibility”. My students and I visited an intercultural Erasmus Intensive Program for students and lecturers from 12 different universities all over Europe organized in Izmir at Yasar University in Turkey. We all shared our knowledge and experience concerning the different approaches to CSR in different countries and learned a lot about challenges and benefits in the European context. In general you could say that CSR is meant to improve the relationship between a company and all its stakeholders. It actually must be the responsibility of us all and especially of successful companies to protect society and the environment. CSR also changes company cultures by improving the relationship with employees, suppliers, customers, the environment and the local community.
absolutely win-win In this category, I would like to dive into the topic a little deeper. I am talking to Laura Brandt from the Haute Ecole de la Province de Liège in Belgium. She is a lecturer for Entrepreneurship and a bit of an expert on SMEs, which means “Small and Medium sized Enterprises”. She tells us that, in fact, 99% of all European companies are SMEs. These companies are facing tough economic challenges right now in the crisis. Laura explains why it is so important for SMEs to integrate Corporate Social Responsibility in their “core business values”. I asked her to tell us how she found out about the subject before joining the intensive seminar in Turkey. Laura gives an interesting example of a cleaning company in which CSR really turned into a win-win situtation for the company and all its stakeholders.
absolutely communicative Our last guest for today is Adelheid Korpp. Adelheid and her husband love traveling. About 10 years ago, when they decided to travel around the world, she got in touch with an organization called Servas. Servas provides travellers with free accommodation all over the world, but you only get invited to stay at a host’s place if you obey certain rules of the system. Adelheid will explain how she got in touch with Servas and how the system works. This may, in fact, be the best way to get in touch with locals while travelling through different countries. In my opinion Servas is also an excellent example of a non-profit organisation which could be supported by companies. So, if you are a CEO and you are looking for a good CSR-cause – please do get in touch with them.