The Governance of Corporate Responsibility: A Doughty Centre ‘How to’ Guide

By Heiko Spitzeck, DoughtyCentre, Cranfield School of Management

The Governance of Corporate Responsibility: A Doughty Centre ‘How to’ Guide

At the Doughty Centre for Corporate Responsibility we seek to work with companies to understand the challenges they face in embedding a commitment to Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability.

Over the next few years, we will be producing accessible and rigorous action-research on corporate responsibility (CR) to assist companies in improving their environmental, social and financial performance. As a new centre within an established school of management, we realise that CR has much to learn from existing disciplines such as Strategy and Organisational Behaviour.

Academic research in the field of governance has indeed first focused on a regulatory approach that gave boards more of a compliance role. But in the wake of globalisation trends, boards started to focus on strategic and organisational questions that were previously the preserve of CEOs. The financial crisis in 2008 showed that boards must now be more proactive. The traditional compliance approach needs to make room now also for an integrity and CR leadership approach. This needs to be reflected in governance structures and practices. How organisations achieve sustained change in other respects should have much to teach us about how to embed CR. Hence this guide and our future publications also seek to make the link between CR and existing management theory, in a way which we hope blends established theory and latest practice, in a relevant and timely fashion.

Our thanks go to the businesses and their representatives who were interviewed for this guide; to friends and colleagues from other organisations who commented on the draft; and particularly to Dr. Heiko Spitzeck, who has researched and written it. We welcome comments and further examples.

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