Good Corporation, Bad Corporation: Corporate Social Responsibility in the Global Economy

April 15, 2016 | Updated: May 9, 2019
Author: Guillermo C. Jimenez, Elizabeth Pulos; SUNY Fashion Institute of Technology

This textbook provides an innovative, internationally-oriented approach to the teaching of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and business ethics. Drawing on case studies in- volving companies and countries around the world, the textbook explores the social, ethical and business dynamics underlying CSR in areas such as: global warming, genetically-mod- ified organisms (GMO) in food production, free trade and fair trade, anti-sweatshop and living-wage movements, organic foods and textiles, ethical marketing practices and codes, corporate speech and lobbying, and social enterprise. The book is designed to encourage students and instructors to challenge their own assumptions and prejudices by stimulating a class debate based on each case study.

Subject Areas
Business, Business Ethics

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Reviews (2) Avg: 4.2 / 5

Kira Tomsons

Institution:Douglas CollegeTitle/Position: InstructorCreative Commons License

Q: The text covers all areas and ideas of the subject appropriately and provides an effective index and/or glossary

While the text does cover a great number of areas, they tend to be clumped into certain areas, with a greater emphasis on environmental issues that I would normally look for in a survey course in business ethics. It also does not have any introductory material on ethics at the theoretical level. Indeed, most of the book is ethical theory 'light'.

It does not contain an index or glossary.

Comprehensiveness Rating: 2 out of 5

Q: Content is accurate, error-free and unbiased

The material seems quite accurate. The writers have done an impressive job of identifying case studies and accurately representing them. Because it is an ethical text book, I do not expect it to be unbiased, as one inevitably comes at this type of material from a particular perspective. However for the most part, both sides are represented in the text and the writers spend a hefty portion at the beginning talking about how to engage in debate and avoid things like bias. The reading excerpts and suggested readings are likewise nicely balanced in the points of view provided.

Content Accuracy Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: Content is up-to-date, but not in a way that will quickly make the text obsolete within a short period of time. The text is written and/or arranged in such a way that necessary updates will be relatively easy and straightforward to implement

A selling point of this text is that it would be very easy to keep it updated. The writers give a nice historical view point (for example in the section on sweat shops, they detail the history of the movement against sweatshops) and include a great number of historical and contemporary examples. This makes it feel comprehensive in scope when it comes to being up to date. (I will admit, this is not the highest concern I have when it comes to philosophy text as the ideas tend to endure...but the case studies are well chosen in the sense that students would be able to recognize many of the brands/companies and will likely continue to be able to do so)

Relevance Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: The text is written in lucid, accessible prose, and provides adequate context for any jargon/technical terminology used

What I very much like about this text and will likely be the greatest force in convincing me to adopt it will be its very clear writing. I value this above all else, particularly given my student demographic. The writing is clear and avoids jargon pretty much altogether. And where special terms are used they are always well defined. This is an excellent feature of the text.

Clarity Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: The text is internally consistent in terms of terminology and framework

The book is consistent in that the flow of each chapter is similar and provides the same structure to how the material is presented. This is a very nice feature of the text. The reason that I gave it a 3/5 is that I would prefer an internal narrative to be joining it all together, from a more theoretical perspective. The topics jump around a bit, whereas I would have grouped the issues of environmental concerns together, for example. The lack of a theoretical framework makes it less holistic. However that actually works in this particular case for me, as my thoughts about how I would use this would be to take it as a supplement for the theoretical material I provide my class. Being able to pick and choose the chapters I want make it much easier when there is not an overarching narrative that would be disrupted otherwise. So this is a bit of a contradictory assessment (sorry).

Consistency Rating: 3 out of 5

Q: The text is easily and readily divisible into smaller reading sections that can be assigned at different points within the course (i.e., enormous blocks of text without subheadings should be avoided). The text should not be overly self-referential, and should be easily reorganized and realigned with various subunits of a course without presenting much disruption to the reader.

From my previous answer to the framework question, this one can easily be answered. It would be extremely easy to take out chapters and reorder them if necessary. Internally pieces in chapters can be removed as well. Overall, great for customization.

Modularity Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: The topics in the text are presented in a logical, clear fashion

The most important progression in the text happens in the first two chapters, where the authors need to lay out the basic notions of corporate social responsibility and how to debate ethics, and then move on to apply these things. This order is important and is done well in the text. The ordering in the other chapters is not as vital. I would have lumped the environmental issues together, but there is nothing egregious in the ordering of the text as is.

Organization Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: The text is free of significant interface issues, including navigation problems, distortion of images/charts, and any other display features that may distract or confuse the reader

One of the nice features of the text is that it very simply presented and the images and tables are well integrated into the text. Easy to read and navigate.

Interface Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: The text contains no grammatical errors

I am normally quite cognizant of spelling errors in the writing of others (I make no claims of perfection for this review!!) I did not see any that jumped out at me. As I mentioned earlier, the writing was clear and straightforward.

Grammar Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: The text is not culturally insensitive or offensive in any way. It should make use of examples that are inclusive of a variety of races, ethnicities, and backgrounds

The text is very relevant to American Culture (its is heavily weighted to students in the United States) but it shows an awareness and sensitivity to issues on a global scale.

Cultural Relevance Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: Are there any other comments you would like to make about this book, for example, its appropriateness in a Canadian context or specific updates you think need to be made?

As someone who prefers Canadian content where possible, this text was a bit lacking. The writers, quite understandably given their location, focus on US politics and laws (particularly the section on business and politics) and many of the case studies are with companies in the US. That said, it does have an eye to the global context, so it is not entirely insular.

I think that it could use some ethical theory to help bolster the content (which would be required in any of the courses I teach). I note that the writers are not philosophers, however, and recognize that this may be difficult. (I also tend to think that business ethics text need to be significantly informed by philosophers, but recognize that is not always possible....)

I really do like the approach it takes, and the debate format I think is very innovative and useful for thinking about how to approach business ethics pedagogically.

I probably will adopt it (at least in part) to supplement another text which is much more theory driven and will hopefully be quite pleased with the result!

Amanpreet Kang

Institution:Yorkville University (BC)Title/Position: ProfessorCreative Commons License

Q: The text covers all areas and ideas of the subject appropriately and provides an effective index and/or glossary

The text book introduces all areas and different dimensions of corporate social responsibility. The authors have included examples and cases from different countries and addressed the CSR practices followed by global organizations. Students therefore get to learn about the issues prevailing in many different nations. However, the discussion is not in-depth. It is therefore recommended that this book is appropriate for undergraduate courses. The index is not detailed to reflect all the sub-topics in every chapter. This makes it difficult for the reader (both faculty and students) to review specific topics when required. Also, the textbook does not offer glossary of the important terms used. The authors can consider this during the subsequent revision.

Comprehensiveness Rating: 3 out of 5

Q: Content is accurate, error-free and unbiased

There are 12 chapters in this text-book. The content of each chapter is organized in an engaging manner. The important terms and definitions are discussed with the help of multiple examples for the reader. The readings at the end of each chapter provide an opportunity to explore and critically examine issues related to CSR. Also, the synthesis questions at the end of every chapter can be used to engage students during the session or for in-class activities.

The authors use clear and simple language which makes it easy for the students, especially undergraduates, to comprehend the concepts discussed in every chapter. However, the sequence in which the chapters have been arranged is haphazard. The authors start discussing CSR followed by debates around CSR, but then move to explore climate change, genetically modified organisms, social entrepreneurship and marketing ethics, etc. The present sequencing of the chapters makes it difficult to adopt the text-book as is in the courses teaching CSR or business ethics. The faculty may decide to include the relevant chapters while designing their course curriculum.

There are very few figures in the text book and all these have been labelled appropriately. The content is accurate and unbiased.

Content Accuracy Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: Content is up-to-date, but not in a way that will quickly make the text obsolete within a short period of time. The text is written and/or arranged in such a way that necessary updates will be relatively easy and straightforward to implement

The book was published in 2016 and has been recently updated in May, 2019 and therefore is relatively current. The textbook uses a lot of examples to emphasize student learning and these may have to be updated in the near future/ as per the requirement. The end of chapter readings/ cases and in some cases articles as well (whose links have been provided) will need to be updated in the next 2 to 3 years to include the current issues. However, when we explain CSR practices of global organizations, it is pertinent to discuss and share the historical cases related to what organizations did and compare them with the current practices of global organizations. This may have to be initiated by the instructors teaching the course. The book has been written keeping in mind the CSR practices of global organizations. Examples and cases from almost all global regions, major countries and corporations have been included. These will remain relevant today and in future as well. This textbook would therefore not become obsolete within short period of time.

Relevance Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: The text is written in lucid, accessible prose, and provides adequate context for any jargon/technical terminology used

Yes, the text is written in lucid, accessible prose, and provides adequate context for any jargon and technical terminology used. The authors use very simple, easy to understand, conversationalist tone. That is one reason that the readers may enjoy this text book.

Clarity Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: The text is internally consistent in terms of terminology and framework

Yes, there is consistency in terms of terminology used and framework. As explained earlier, each chapter is exclusive (except the first two) and outlines the contemporary issues faced by organizations, individuals and societies. The concept is discussed along with a lot of examples, end of the chapter readings, case studies and questions at the end of the chapter. There are also four detailed case studies which may be used by the instructors for designing course assignments.

Consistency Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: The text is easily and readily divisible into smaller reading sections that can be assigned at different points within the course (i.e., enormous blocks of text without subheadings should be avoided). The text should not be overly self-referential, and should be easily reorganized and realigned with various subunits of a course without presenting much disruption to the reader.

Absolutely. The main advantage of using/ adopting this textbook would be that the chapters are ‘mutually exclusive yet collectively exhaustive’ to explain the CSR initiatives of global organizations. The course faculty may choose to use a few chapters in a semester. There is an opportunity to adopt different content/ chapters depending on the audience/ students enrolled in the course.

Modularity Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: The topics in the text are presented in a logical, clear fashion

The authors have tried to cover all the dimensions related to Corporate Social Responsibility (example Genetically Modified Organizations and Social Entrepreneurship along with Corruption, Politics, etc.). Though this provides flexibility to the faculty to use some information and not the other, the sequencing and therefore organization of the chapters is very haphazard. The chapters should have been clubbed into different units with each unit focusing on a specific issue, for example Chapter 4 and 7, and Chapters 10 and 11 could be grouped under one theme. However, this would affect the modularity of the text.

Organization Rating: 3 out of 5

Q: The text is free of significant interface issues, including navigation problems, distortion of images/charts, and any other display features that may distract or confuse the reader

The PDF format of the book was reviewed. The book is readable, editable and printable. It is possible to read this book using an eReader, as a PDF as well as online.

There were no interface issues nor any problems related to navigation or distortion of images or charts. There are very few images and these are well displayed within the text and do not confuse the reader at all. Some of the links in the end notes of each chapter are broken and may have to be replaced.

Interface Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: The text contains no grammatical errors

There were no grammatical or spelling errors observed. The language used is very simple, clear and easy to understand for students and faculty.

Grammar Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: The text is not culturally insensitive or offensive in any way. It should make use of examples that are inclusive of a variety of races, ethnicities, and backgrounds

The text is neither insensitive and nor do the authors use offensive language. The text uses cases from different countries and explain, comment on and critique the CSR initiatives of global organizations.

Overall, from the perspective of diversity and inclusion, authors have made sure that cases and examples from different regions, of different people and global organizations are included in the textbook. Some may argue, though, that a lot of examples and cases of US companies are highlighted. However, when compared to other textbooks that examine CSR related topics, the authors have ensured that in this textbook, global organizations and different regions get discussed.

Cultural Relevance Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: Are there any other comments you would like to make about this book, for example, its appropriateness in a Canadian context or specific updates you think need to be made?

We have adopted this textbook for an undergraduate course. We have incorporated additional readings and used some chapters of this textbook to design our course. I would like to recommend this textbook for undergraduate courses.

Another important reason for recommending this text is the use of multiple examples and cases to encourage critical thinking and reasoning. There are four long cases at the end of the textbook and these can very well be integrated as graded assignments for the course. The authors have endeavored to include cases and examples from multiple regions and various corporations, ensuring unbiased opinions and views. It is also very important given the demographics of students who might be reading this book.

In future, the authors might like to improve the textbook by including a detailed index and glossary. These help the faculty and students to navigate through the textbook, examine specific concepts and also read key terms familiarizing themselves with the technical words used in the discipline.