Rethinking the role of management education in developing a “new” locus of CSR responsibility: An Indian case study

Tulsi Jayakumar (Department of Economics, S.P. Jain Institute of Management and Research, Mumbai, India)
Rukaiya Kirit Joshi (Centre for Education in Social Sector (CEdSS), S.P. Jain Institute of Management and Research, Mumbai, India)

Journal of Work-Applied Management

ISSN: 2205-2062

Publication date: 5 June 2017

Abstract

Purpose

India is the first country to have mandated compulsory corporate social responsibility (CSR) spends through changes in its legislative framework. Focus has thus shifted from the “why” to the “how” of CSR and, therefore, a shift in the “locus” of CSR responsibility from the “influencer” chief executive officer toward the “implementer” CSR professionals. The purpose of this paper is to study the role of management education in developing individual competencies among the implementers and impacting effective CSR implementation.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper, using a case study design, studies the role of management education in developing individual competencies among the implementers and impacting effective CSR implementation. Building on theoretical frameworks, this paper carries out an exploratory research of an Indian business school’s management education program for development practitioners. It uses qualitative inputs gathered from relevant stakeholders of the program to understand the role of management education in facilitating the paradigm shift in CSR in the Indian context.

Findings

The paper finds that the program has impacted outcomes at three levels, namely through developing key individual CSR-related competencies; impacting participants’ professional performance; and organizational impact in effective CSR implementation.

Practical implications

The case study provides a roadmap to business schools for designing and implementing programs for CSR professionals.

Originality/value

Extant research in the Indian context is silent on key competencies required for CSR implementation and also on the role of management education in developing the same. Such competencies can ensure the efficiency of the expected large CSR spends by private corporates under the new legal requirements and alter the country’s social development path.

Keywords

Citation

Jayakumar, T. and Joshi, R. (2017), "Rethinking the role of management education in developing a “new” locus of CSR responsibility", Journal of Work-Applied Management, Vol. 9 No. 1, pp. 51-69. https://doi.org/10.1108/JWAM-02-2017-0004

Download as .RIS

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Tulsi Jayakumar and Rukaiya Kirit Joshi

License

Published in Journal of Work-Applied Management. Published by Emerald Publishing Limited. This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) licence. Anyone may reproduce, distribute, translate and create derivative works of this article (for both commercial & non-commercial purposes), subject to full attribution to the original publication and authors. The full terms of this licence may be seen at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode


Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is increasingly recognized as the sine qua non of businesses, both in advanced and emerging economies. The role of management education in influencing the cause of socially responsible business has been seen as one of the main reasons proactively influencing locus of CSR, namely the potential business leaders. Business schools, through curricula incorporating ethical decision making, ethical leadership, and corporate governance, are expected to develop ethical business leaders who understand the responsibility of business in society, and who as “moral person(s)” and “moral manager(s)” influence ethical conduct in business organizations (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, 2004).

The moral-ethical “responsibility” of business toward society through “voluntary” CSR and the debate around the role of business ceased to be of relevance in India since 2014, when India became the first and only country to mandate large profitable companies to spend 2 percent of their average profit after tax (PAT) for the three preceding financial years on CSR activities. These activities, specified in Schedule VII of the new Companies Act, 2013 (Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India, 2014), included activities aimed at the society and environment, but precluded such activities as undertaken by companies in pursuance of their normal course of business. The onus of CSR policy lay with the company board, while CSR implementation could be handled either by the firm directly, through its non-profit foundations, through independently registered non-governmental organizations (NGOs) with a track record of three years or more in undertaking similar programs/projects, or through pooling resources with other companies.

However, despite the large number of registered NGOs and CSR foundations of top Indian companies, alongside the expected sharp increases in CSR spends, CSR implementation in India, even in 2015, remained a challenge (Anand, 2015; Mukherjee et al., 2015).

The changed regulatory requirements and the need for greater efficiency from the higher CSR spends necessitate a shift in the locus of CSR responsibility away from the “influencer” chief executive officer/board of directors toward the “implementer” CSR professional. Business schools and management education, in turn, need to shift focus (away from inculcating individual personal values among prospective CSR influencers) toward developing such individual personal competencies among a new breed of professionals – the CSR professionals. “CSR professionals,” as distinct from general management professionals, refer to a group of individuals who bear the responsibility of implementing CSR in core business processes for achieving long-term effective CSR performance, and “whose individual competencies are likely to influence [such] CSR performance, in addition to important institutional and organizational factors and processes” (Osagie et al., 2016, p. 234).

The relevant question for research and practice is therefore: how can management education facilitate development of individual CSR-related competencies amongst CSR implementers, thereby ensuring effective CSR implementation?

Following a case study approach, this paper uses the graduate management program – called the Post Graduate Program in Development Management (PGP-DM) – of an Indian business school as the frame of research. It explores the program curricula and pedagogy from the lens of competency development and uses multiple stakeholder analysis to assess qualitatively the program impact on multiple outcomes. We see the implications drawn from India providing international insights into the role of management education and business schools in developing a new locus of CSR responsibility.

CSR and management education

It is well accepted that the term “CSR” has no single universally accepted definition (Dahlsrud, 2006; Matten and Crane, 2005). Yet, extant literature on CSR with its interpretation of the term “CSR” as the impact that businesses have on society and the societal expectations of them suggests an organizational-centric bias. Well-accepted definitions of CSR exhibiting such a bias include those which describe CSR as:

The continuing commitment by business to behave ethically

(World Business Council for Sustainable Development, 2000).

Operating a business in a manner that meets or exceeds the ethical, legal, commercial and public expectations that society has of business

(Business for Social Responsibility, 2000).

A management concept whereby companies integrate social and environmental concerns in their business operations and interactions with their stakeholders on a voluntary basis

(Consortium for Educational Communication, 2006) (Italics ours).

Carroll’s (1979) construct of CSR and Freeman’s (1984) stakeholder approach exhibit such a bias toward the organizational level of analysis. The organization-centric CSR bias within management education leads to the phenomenon of standalone courses in ethics and sustainability in business school curricula (Baden and Parkes, 2013; Giacalone and Thompson, 2006).

Giacalone and Thompson (2006) have argued for a shift from an organization-centered world view to an individual-centric “human-centered world view” of CSR. However, even such little CSR research which exists at the individual level of analysis is largely skewed toward the development of individual (personal) values rather than toward individual competencies (Cameron, 2006; Giacalone and Thompson, 2006; Inglehart, 1997; Waddock, 2006). Such research highlights the personal values of managers, which lead them to act as “moral actors” and change agents in driving CSR initiatives (Hemingway and Maclagan, 2004; Schneider et al., 2010). Management education’s role lies in developing the right values among management students (Giacalone and Promislo, 2013). Major accreditation bodies too have commented on the role of management education and business school curricula in nurturing the right ethics and values. Thus, “the messages leaders send and the contexts they create are potentially the greatest motivating force behind ethical conduct in business organizations. To be considered ethical leaders, executives must be both ‘moral persons’ and ‘moral managers’ […].” (AASCB, 2004, p. 11).

The emphasis on “values” creates methodological problems of separating the individual from the organizational values (Agle and Caldwell, 1999). More importantly, extant literature, with its focus on adoption of CSR, largely ignores individual competencies relevant for CSR implementation.

Individual competencies and CSR implementation

Competencies are “a roughly specialised system of abilities, proficiencies or skills that are necessary or sufficient to reach a specific goal” (Weinert, 2001, p. 45). They represent “individual dispositions to self-organization which include cognitive, affective, volitional, and motivational elements (Rieckmann, 2012, p. 130). Mulder (2014, pp. 9, 10) conceptualized individual competencies as composed of knowledge, skills, and attitudes and as “performance requirements without which professionals would not be able to effectively function in their professional situations.” The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization too defined competencies in this sense of “knowledge, skills, and attitudes that are underpinned by values” (UNESCO, n.d).

Individual competencies have been considered in the recent literature on sustainable development in the context of “education on sustainable development” (De Haan, 2006; Rieckmann, 2012; Wiek et al., 2011). Specifically, in the context of CSR, Osagie et al. (2016, pp. 244-247) synthesized eight distinct CSR-related individual competencies that support CSR implementation in a corporate context. These included anticipating CSR challenges; understanding CSR-relevant systems and subsystems; understanding CSR-relevant standards; CSR management competencies; realizing CSR-supportive interpersonal processes; employing CSR-supportive personal characteristics and affective attributes in CSR contexts and personal value-driven competencies; and reflecting on personal CSR views and experiences.

CSR adoption and implementation in India

The concept of social responsibility was not new to India. The Indian CSR tradition – rooted in business ethics, religion, and spirituality – had deep philanthropic underpinnings captured in Indian scriptures (Agarwal, 2008; Balasubramanian et al., 2005; Jayakumar, 2016; Khan, 2008; Mohan, 2001). Traditionally, Indian companies viewed CSR as a non-strategic and religious philanthropic activity, to be undertaken in areas or activities determined by the individual owner’s preferences (Bain and Co. Inc., 2013; Charities Aid Foundation, 2012; Dasra, 2012). Changes in the regulatory environment in India, especially after 2012, necessitated a change in the approach toward CSR.

In August 2012, the Securities and Exchange Board of India made it mandatory for the top 100 Indian listed companies to include the business responsibility report as part of their annual report (Securities and Exchange Board of India, 2012). Schedule VII of the Companies Act, 2013 brought CSR to the forefront, urging companies to focus on relationships with multiple stakeholders including local communities and go beyond philanthropy (CII-PwC, 2013). The Act made it mandatory for large Indian companies with net worth of USD0.08 billion (INR500 crore) or more, or turnover of USD0.02 billion (INR1,000 crore) or more, or net profit of USD0.83 million (INR5 crore) or more to spend at least 2 percent of the average net profit during the preceding three financial years on CSR activities. In this sense, the emphasis in the new act was on what was done with profits after they were made, rather than how profits were made themselves. However, CSR implementation seemed to be making tardy progress even as late as 2015 when only 27 (18 percent) of the top 214 Indian companies complied with the mandatory 2 percent norms (Futurescape, n.d).

Rationale of the study

The extant CSR literature emphasizes the moral-ethical dimensions of the role of management education in developing socially responsible managers possessing the right set of personal values. While key competencies for sustainable development/CSR have been identified in educational research settings, extant research does not address “how” such competencies can be developed through management education. Again, there is a little agreement on “the most important key competencies,” and also on “the question of the global relevance of these key competencies” (Rieckmann, 2012, p. 132). Finally, despite mandatory CSR norms being implemented in India since 2014, we found no research in the Indian context on key competencies required for CSR implementation, and also on the role of management education in developing the same.

The shift in emphasis from the anticipation of CSR to the implementation of CSR and also the shift in the locus of CSR from business managers to CSR practitioners necessitates a shift in the question relevant to theory and practice. The extant research literature, with its emphasis on the “why” of CSR, whether from the organizational- or human-centered viewpoint, is incapable of addressing the new realities. This requires a paradigm shift from the “why” of CSR to the “how” of CSR implementation. It is this gap in literature, further accentuated by the changed reality in India, which provided the motivation for this study.

Methodology

This paper attempts to carry out an exploratory research of the role of management education in developing a new locus of CSR responsibility, namely CSR professionals. In doing so, it adopts a case study method of analysis. The term “CSR professionals” includes individuals working in corporate CSR roles and also those working in the development sector (comprising of funding and grassroots/implementing NGOs), who bear the responsibility of managing and executing CSR implementation and ensuring long-term effective CSR performance.

The main research questions addressed are as follows:

RQ1.

How does management education facilitate development of individual competencies amongst CSR professionals?

RQ2.

What is the impact of management education on the professional performance of CSR professionals?

RQ3.

What is the impact of management education on organizations’ CSR implementation performance?

A single case study method is justified where a recent phenomenon is still not sufficiently understood, and where the aim of the research is to question or extend the existing theory (Ghauri, 2004; Stake, 2000). As this study aims to contribute to a more finely grained understanding of the role of management education in enhancing individual competencies required for CSR implementation in the Indian context, a qualitative research approach using a single case study method was used (Yin, 2003).

The management education program selected for the analysis was the PGP-DM program at an Indian business school. With ten batches, totaling 260 professionals belonging to both the development sector and to corporate CSR departments/foundations, between 2011 and 2016, it provided a suitable research setting for exploring the role of management education in developing individual competencies among CSR professionals.

An exhaustive survey of the extant CSR literature on the topic provided the theoretical basis for carrying out the research. Table I enunciates the research design followed in the study. The purpose of the empirical research was to obtain evidence within the dimensions of the theoretical frameworks selected for analysis, namely Osagie et al.’s (2016) individual competencies framework (ICF) and the knowledge-skills-attitude (KSA) framework. We assessed the program for three outcomes, namely development of specific CSR-related individual competencies; impact on participants’ professional performance; and organizational impact for effective CSR implementation.

As a first step, our initial investigation aimed at exploring existing management education programs in other Indian business schools directed toward building CSR capabilities among development sector professionals. We used purposive sampling for data collection, deliberately selecting data with a specific focus in mind (Punch, 1998). To ensure reliability and validity in data collection, we adopted a triangulation procedure (Yin, 1994), using multiple sources of evidence including participant feedbacks, participant final project reports, mentor feedbacks, faculty feedbacks and questionnaires administered to alumni, and a returning organization – Lupin Foundation[1].

We drew the sample from participants belonging to batches 1-7 who had gone through the PGP-DM program between 2011 and 2015. Table II provides the broad profile of the sample group of 175 participants. We analyzed program and course feedbacks for the sample participants across the seven batches to understand the impact of the program on the development of individual competencies. A sample of 100 final project reports across the seven batches and 100 faculty feedback forms from the faculty teaching various courses across different batches were analyzed further to understand CSR-related competency development. In all, 50 mentor feedback forms and 50 questionnaires administered to alumni were analyzed to understand the impact of the program on the participants’ professional performance. Finally, a questionnaire administered to Lupin was used to assess the long-term impact of the program on organizational performance through CSR implementation.

We performed a qualitative content analysis using Mayring’s (2000) content structuring, central to which is a category system, developed right on the material employing a theory-guided procedure (Kohlbacher, 2006). The feedback documents and questionnaires were read carefully to identify meaningful text passages. The two authors independently coded every unit of the analysis. We used the competencies derived from the Osagie framework as coding categories to group these excerpts. Specifically, it was determined that as soon as the pre-specified keywords would be encountered in a text passage in the sample documents, and/or when their meaning coincided with the definition of a category, the relevant text passage would be coded under the given category. More than one code could be given to a single excerpt. We decided that the smallest unit of analysis would be a semantic phrase and the longest unit of analysis a paragraph. In order to determine when a certain text portion from the document analyzed fell under a relevant category, we provided the main categories and sub-categories with the exact definitions and coding rules (including stop words) and illustrated with the examples of the respondents’ statements. Taken together, they comprised the coding protocol (see Figure 1).

To check for inter-rater reliability, Cohen’s κ (Cohen, 1960) was calculated for each category (code). Inter-rater agreement was high with κ values ranging from 0.67 to 0.82. Differences between the coders were discussed till an agreement was reached.

Background

Indian management education and the development sector

The Indian social development sector witnessed transformation in the new millennium, with an increase in the number, as well as the scope of development sector organizations (One World South Asia, 2010). A need arose for a large number of development professionals, trained in management principles. However, Indian business schools, including the premier Indian institutes of management, despite their attempts to integrate social sector projects and ethics into management curricula, were ill equipped to provide contextual management education for the development sector (Patel et al., 2004, p. 98). Other than sporadic sponsored training programs, there were little opportunities for development sector professionals to acquire management skills. In fact, an analysis of the various programs for development management in India revealed that even as late as in 2016, the existing management educational institutes in India had failed in developing specific educational programs for this under-managed sector.

The PGP-DM program

As part of its mission to influence practice, and perceiving the need gap within the development sector, the business school had launched the PGP-DM program in 2011. The PGP-DM was an 18-month modular program, aimed at providing management education to develop specialized individual competencies among development sector professionals, including corporate CSR professionals. While all the participants over the seven batches studied, comprised either of professionals belonging to corporate CSR departments/foundations or NGOs, 42 percent of them had functional roles with direct CSR implementation responsibilities.

The program comprised of three semesters conducted over nine contacts, and involved 28 credits earned over 325 contact sessions. The duration for each contact varied from six to eight days. The course curriculum was designed to develop specific competencies required for CSR roles in the development sector and deploy the KSA framework.

The program deployed specific pedagogical approaches aimed at developing competencies among people working in the development sector, i.e. CSR professionals. Reading and lectures helped in building knowledge pertaining to various aspects of the development sector and CSR, while case analyses pertaining to CSR and the development sector helped in building analytical skills. Small group work required participants to test their existing mental models against those of their peers and encouraged collaborative learning. The diverse geographical and socio-economic backgrounds of the participants made for a rich learning experience. Assignment exercises – based on the principle of “learning by doing” – helped participants apply management frameworks and techniques learnt in the classroom, to their workplace. Such application exercises required active mentor inputs, thereby facilitating deeper and more meaningful development of relevant competencies. Project work, conducted over a longer duration, sought to develop scientific inquiry skills among participants, so as to identify an improvement area, i.e. area of growth for the organization.

The school, with its mission of “influencing practice” and “promoting value-based growth” believed in the maxim: “knowledge when internalized, is better implemented.” Hence, in addition to cognitive training, which helped in the development of individual competencies among CSR professionals, the program also relied on methods such as “reflection” to develop introspective and personal development approaches. The program had a half-an-hour slot each morning, allotted for reflection of the previous day’s learnings.

Findings

Analyzing the data provided significant outcomes on all three aspects of the role of management education in impacting the “implementers,” namely developing individual competencies through the right pedagogical approaches and curricula; impacting professional performance of participants; and long-term organizational impact in effective CSR implementation. Also, these three outcomes were found to be interdependent and mutually reinforcing.

Development of individual competencies

Program architecture analysis

Extant literature points to key individual competencies as supporting effective CSR implementation (Mulder, 2014; Osagie et al., 2016). The program structure was conceived and designed using the KSA framework, with the course curriculum aimed at developing a mix of knowledge, skills, and attitudes among participants. However, the emphasis was on the building of knowledge and skills, with a preponderance of knowledge and skill-based courses. The underlying assumption of this approach was that participants, through their choice of working in the development sector, had already exhibited the personal morals, values, and social consciousness that was relevant for socially responsible behavior.

More importantly, the course curriculum was designed to develop specific CSR competencies and analytical abilities required for successful CSR implementation. Table III evaluates the program architecture in terms of the Osagie et al.’sICF and the KSA framework. We found that the program architecture and course design lent themselves to the development of individual CSR-related competencies, as identified under the ICF. Moreover, each course lent itself to multiple competence building as well.

Participant feedback

Quantitative and qualitative individual participant feedback collected anonymously at the end of each course, evaluating each course for its relevance, rigor , and ability to generate participant interest was an important tool for the effectiveness analysis of program. Quantitative feedback analyzed for the first seven batches across courses, and for the overall program indicated high average scores (above 8.5 on a ten-point scale). An ANOVA test carried out to test differences between group means at the program level indicated that there were no statistically significant differences between program feedback means for different batches as determined by the one-way ANOVA at the 0.05 level of significance ((F (6,168)=0.90602, p=0.49) (see Table IV).

The document analysis of the qualitative feedbacks substantiated program success in facilitating the development of key CSR-related competencies:

[…] This program has taught us to inculcate the feeling of “we” in ourselves, put others first, listening and then responding. To be calm and cool in all situations we face whenever it comes. […] applying the different techniques and tools like issue tree whenever we are faced with problems

(C6; Participant-Batch 7, Executive Director, Indian Association for Blind, Female, 40 years).

The program has definitely helped in the following – outlining vision and strategies, effective project management and implementing best practices in the field

(C4a; Participant-Batch 6, Senior Outreach worker, Habitat for Humanity India, Male, 23 years).

I realized that it is not only money; it is about positioning and sensitizing influencing individuals and other parameters as well. This is CSR 2.0

(C4c; Participant-Batch 1, Assistant Manager-CSR, Birla Cellulose, Grasim Industries, Male, 35 years).

I have learnt how to simplify work or how [I] can perform quality and effective work with efficiency. The values like Truth, Sharing, Freedom, Mutuality, Trust and Empathy are very important in my life. I already possess some of [these] values but not all; but now onwards I am aware about what is the value of values in life. Reflection has helped me understand these values

(C7c; Participant-Batch 2, Assistant Vice President (HR), Aditya Birla Group, Ultra-Tech Cement Ltd, Male, 46 years).

The qualitative content analysis of the participants’ written reports and faculty feedback on participant progress/performance for their respective courses reinforced the overall impression regarding program success in development of key competencies.

Thus, a Batch 6 participant from an NGO (volunteer, female, 28 years), demonstrating the development of competencies relating to “understanding CSR systems” and “CSR-related interpersonal processes” (C2 and C5) in her final project report, identified key gap areas within her organizational systems and processes as lack of formal training processes, lack of documentation, formal employee benefit schemes (health insurance, provident fund, etc.), and incorporation of appropriate technology within the organization.

It was found that the process of developing key individual competencies was closely linked to the pedagogy used. Not only did the pedagogy encourage knowledge building in key areas in the development sector through awareness, it also encouraged competence development through perturbation among participants – that is the process of reframing existing knowledge and integrating and critically evaluating new knowledge.

Thus, commenting on the usefulness of the course “perspectives on development” in awareness building, one participant from Batch 7 wrote in his anonymous feedback for the course: “This course helped me to understand the different development models from the perspective of an NGO” (C1). The feedback from another participant from the same batch highlighted the role of perturbation and competence building: “Before this course, I had a very narrow minded perspective. This course opened my mind to global perspectives and how the development (experience) can be lost as well, as in the case of Argentina” (C8).

The program through its course design and delivery challenged existing mental models and the participants’ world views and thereby aided competence development. At the same time, the pedagogical elements of “learning by doing,” “reflection” and interaction with development sector experts aided competence development through facilitating deeper learning. The “learning by doing” component, with its approach toward praxis, helped in bridging the theory-practice gap; the “reflection” component helped participants reflect on class learnings, compare with their own personal views, and also seek the impression of other colleagues; interaction with development sector experts exposed participants to best practices in the sector, as well as to the attitudes required for leadership roles.

Impacting professional performance of participants

The modular nature of the program was designed to provide participants the opportunity to apply the program learnings to their professional lives on a real-time basis during the off-contact period, discuss the application outcomes with mentors and faculty members, and strengthen learning through repeated iterations. Such “learning by doing” helped strengthen individual competencies and impacted participants’ professional performance positively.

The impact of the program on participants’ professional performance was validated through mentor feedbacks, alumni feedbacks, and feedback from the Lupin Foundation.

Mentor feedback

The program required each participant to have a mentor – a senior member usually from his own organization, to mentor him on various aspects of the course as applied to the professional organization.

Mentor feedback regarding the program and its usefulness was collected on a timely basis as part of the program design. Content analysis of 50 sample mentor feedback forms attested to the relevance of application exercises, the relevance of the overall program to the participants’ current work and professional performance, and also contributed to organization goals.

A mentor from Hindalco Industries – an aluminum manufacturing subsidiary of a large Indian corporate, commented on the impact of the program on the sponsored participant – a 36 year, Male, Assistant Manager-CSR, from batch 6: “ [The program] […] improved the managerial capability in various aspects. Enriched his problem-solving attitude. The course is relevant to his current nature of job. He actively involved other team members for them to be benefitted with the same” (Mentor, Hindalco Industries, October 25, 2014).

Alumni feedback

An alumnus from Batch 5 testified to the impact of the program on his professional performance: “ I can see the program impact on aspects such as fund-raising and analytical skills. I have been able to distinguish myself from my peers, especially in fund-raising, due to the skill sets (creative and interpersonal skills) gained as part of the course […]” (Zonal Manager, Dr Reddy’s Foundation, Male, 35 years).

Feedback from Lupin Foundation

Lupin Foundation was a returning organization to the PGP-DM program, sending participants from various Lupin group companies to each batch of the program since the program’s inception in 2011. A questionnaire, mapped to the ICF, was sent to the Lupin Foundation head in July 2016 to validate the impact of the program on the participants’ professional performance and to track the organizational impact of the program (see the Appendix). The responses indicate that the program did have the desired outcomes through developing specific individual competencies. Thus:

We observed improvements among our team members who did PGP-DM. We are getting inputs from them regarding model development to showcase CSR work. It has given them futuristic perspective for sustainable and replicable rural development models

(C1; Q1).

The quantum of our work in Dhule district is huge and each of our team members who attended the PGP-DM programme is handling the scale effectively. Though we are implementing more than 30 activities in 7 verticals, our team members are able to manage the complexity in the field situations and execution systems to get results in specific period of time. The challenge of maintaining the MIS/intervention data was tackled by our team through online software that maintains the huge base line and intervention data of 0.131 million families

(C2; Q3).

Our Head Office and corporate team handle a lot of these aspects (legal and compliance) as well. […] However, CSR executives are now able to understand how to comply with the legal environment. They also understand drivers, i.e. the macro perspective and normative fundamentals of CSR challenges. They have developed the ability to construct rules and incentives in order to regulate the CSR- related behavior of others

(C3; Q4).

They (participants) have developed the ability to motivate, enable, and facilitate collaboration and cooperation in working on CSR challenges. They have developed skills of persuasiveness and networking skills; are able to identify a broad group of stakeholders and have good communication skills. They successfully manage, negotiate, and represent their Foundation’s interest while showing respect, navigating, and mapping distinctive ideas and inputs of stakeholders

(C5; Q8).

The Foundation further testified that four participants who had gone through the program, and who had demonstrated significant enhancement of competencies, had been promoted to higher roles within the organization

(C6; Q10).

Impacting organizational performance in CSR implementation

Participant’s project reports containing recommendations for improving or growing their respective organizations, arrived at through structured root cause analysis and problem-solving, when implemented by the organization, constituted the direct organizational impact of the program. Additionally, the program, through fostering individual competencies, had an indirect impact on organizational effectiveness as well. The Lupin questionnaire demonstrates the impact of the program on facilitating organizational change toward effective CSR implementation:

Each of our team members has actively contributed to the vision document preparation conducted by our organization in Feb 2016. They embedded their experience and sector knowledge to frame it in terms of input, output, outcomes and impacts

(C4a; Q5).

[…] Yes, our team has developed abilities to handle the projects independently. Our professionals are able to design strategies and systems for its timely implementation. Projects are now being implemented with result-based management and proper record keeping of activities. The executives are actively involved in the preparation of small proposals for fund raising and partnerships with other development agencies

(C4c; Q7).

Individually the change (in the participants) has occurred and it has also contributed substantially towards capacity building and grooming of other team members in the organization

(C6; Q9).

Other validation

The Tata Trust (associated with the Tata group of companies and responsible for the group CSR activities) provided a USD0.31 million grant to the program for a three-year period – April 1, 2013 to March 31, 2016 – with the objective of promoting management capacity building among NGO and CSR professionals for a greater social impact. This provided further validation of the program’s success in achieving its objectives. Further, 20 percent of the organizations sending their participants for the program were returning organizations, another testimony of the relevance of the program.

Discussion

A discussion of the findings will need to be prefaced by a mention of the limitations of the study. The study, being a single case study, suffers from the limitation of outcomes not being generalizable. Moreover, the preconditions for the case may prevent it from being easily replicable across management schools. Specifically, the case presents a program initiated by a business school, which given its rich historical legacy and its mission, did not view the program for its commercial revenue-generating aspects. The program fees were nominal, and in fact, most of the students were either funded by corporate or covered by scholarships from trusts, such as the Tata Trust. This may not be possible in other business schools where commercial considerations decide on the program offerings.

Despite these limitations, the sample size of 175, drawn across four years, and the multiple evidence obtained are sufficiently large and robust to conclude that the outcomes presented by this qualitative case analysis may be similarly replicated by other management education institutions in comparable settings.

The findings of our study reveal that the PGP-DM program for development practitioners, aimed at impacting the CSR and development space, has facilitated outcomes at three levels.

First, the program, through specific pedagogy design and implementation, has led to the development of individual CSR-related competencies. Such competencies relate not only to better CSR-related knowledge, but also to the right attitude and skills needed for effective CSR implementation. Pedagogical techniques used such as “learning by doing” and “reflection” correspond to those pointed out by theoretical literature for holistic competence development (Rychen and Salganik, 2003) and contributed to internalization of competencies.

Second, the modular nature of the program and the projects and assignments, designed towards “learning by doing,” has indeed enhanced professional performance. Such active learning environments have been identified as major contributors to professional development (Garet et al., 2001).

Third, the program also had an impact on the sponsoring organizations through improving their long-term effectiveness in the development/CSR space. This is borne out not only by evidence from a returning organization questionnaire, but also from the number of returning organization-sponsored participants across batches.

Thus, it appears that the program acted as a change agent at multiple levels, namely the individual level, at the level of the group (community) of CSR professionals and at the organizational level. We expect the first-order impact of the program on the participant group to translate into second- and higher-order impact through community network effects, and also through participants’ organizational involvement. The changes at the three levels would thus be mutually reinforcing.

Conclusion

Traditionally, CSR has been viewed through an organization-centric, rather than an individual-centric lens. Even within the latter, the emphasis, if at all, has been on the development of the right individual values for encouraging CSR adoption, rather than development of individual competencies for ensuring CSR implementation. The role of management education in developing a new breed of CSR professionals is going to become increasingly relevant in India, as legal requirements necessitate a shift in emphasis from anticipation of CSR to implementation of CSR. However, business schools in India have not incorporated the special needs of the development sector in tailoring specific programs for the purpose. The PGP-DM program of the business school in question presents an example of how management education can build a category of CSR professionals through building individual competencies required of implementers. Such individual competencies not only affect the professional performance of the individual CSR professionals, but also have long-term organizational impact in terms of effective CSR implementation.

Our results also provide several directions to those at the helm of management education. The CSR effectiveness will be marred by the dearth of effective managers, possessing individual competencies required at various stages of CSR implementation. Management education programs will need to tailor special executive programs for the development sector. At the same time, these key competencies and frameworks provide a template for assessing potential CSR managers and leaders for their future potential as well.

Figures

Coding protocol (illustration)

Figure 1

Coding protocol (illustration)

Research design: composition and methodological techniques

Process in research Purpose Approach Techniques Outcomes
Preliminary theoretical research: competencies framework
Theoretical frameworks Getting started and finding gap in literature
Identifying the potentially critical fields in understanding CSR success through successful implementation
Literature review Survey of existing literature Comparison of competency frameworks
Identifying Key CSR-related competencies and their definitions: the Appendix
2. Empirical research
1. Initial study Understanding other existing management education programs in business schools directed towards CSR and their focus Analysis of CSR programs/courses offered by top Indian B-schools Website analysis
Content analysis of program brochures
Exhaustive List of such CSR courses/ programs along with their orientation: Table II
The PGP-DM architecture and pedagogy compared with existing management programs for the development sector professionals
2. Sampling Data selection for subsequent analysis
Obtain rich evidence from multiple sources
Purposive sampling
Principle of heterogeneity
Triangulation procedure
Fixed sampling Heterogeneous sample (Program participants, mentors, instructors, alumni and participating organization)
Sample composition of participants: Table II
3. Document analysis
Participant feedback analysis (250)
analysis of participant reports (150)
Analysis of feedbacks from faculty members (100)
Analysis of feedback from mentors (50)
Obtaining insights into the role of management education in developing individual CSR competencies Mayring’s content structuring; Deductive category application Mayring’s content structuring
1. specification of coding units of analysis
2. Theory based establishment of main categories and sub-categories
3. Theory based formulation of definitions, examples and coding rules
4. Extraction of text passages, adjustments of coding protocols
5. Revision of a category system and adjustment of coding protocols
6. Revision of category system and category definitions
7. Identification of relevant contents in document texts
8. Summarizing per sub-categories
9. Summarizing per main categories
Coding protocol: Figure 1
Documents coded using the coding system
4. Additional field evidence Assess the suitability of the current program architecture in successful CSR implementation through developing individual competencies Assessment of the program architecture using the Osagie ICF and KSA frameworks Content analysis and mapping individual courses to the frameworks Exhaustive list of courses mapped to specific competency frameworks: Table IV
Assess the long-term impact of the program on the organization vis-à-vis CSR implementation From a returning organization perspective Questionnaire (returning organization – Lupin Foundation) In-depth understanding of the theoretical constructs
Assess the impact of the program on participants’ professional performance From alumni perspective Questionnaire (alumni) (50 alumni) In-depth understanding of the theoretical constructs
Theoretical integration
Use of literature (throughout research) Interpretation of empirical findings
Extracting relevant evidence
Empirical evidence developed theoretically (the how question)

Source: The Authors

Sample profile of participants

Total number of participants in the sample 175
Age 23-54 (average age: 36)
Gender 136 male; 39 female
Number of participants belonging to corporate foundations and corporates 71
Participants from NGOs 104
Number of organizations from which participants drawn 125
Number of Indian states from which drawn 16 (of 29 Indian states)
Number of participants directly performing/ involved in CSR roles/ functions in their organization 74

Source: The Authors

Program structure of PGP-DM program and its assessment in terms of the ICF and KSA frameworks

S.No. Course Credita CSR competencies (Osagie et al. ICF) KSA framework
 1 Perspectives on Development and General Management 1.5 C1; C8 K Develop macro perspectives regarding factors that influence development
A Understand different theories and practices and thereby help participants develop the right attitude and approach to development
 2 Finance for Development Sector 1.5 C2; C4b K Understand finance and accounting processes
S Develop skills for budgeting, costing, financial analysis etc. to help participants take better decisions
 3 Fund Raising and Resource Mobilization 1.5 C4c K Understand the importance of resource mobilization and know its different methods and processes
S Develop skills for resource mobilization through experiential learning
A Understand the macro perspective of resource mobilization and develop right attitude for donor management
 4 Advocacy and Networking 0.5 C3; C8 K Understand the need for advocacy. Learn different models of advocacy and networking
S Develop skills for advocacy and networking
 5 Social Marketing and Building a CSO Brand 1.5 C2; C4c K Understand social marketing concepts and the need for brand building of community social organization
S Develop marketing skills
 6 Information and Communication Technology for Development 1.5 C1; C4c K Familiarize participants with the present technology environment and its use for enhancing social impact
 7 Program development and Project Management 3 C4c; C4a K Gain Scientific knowledge of Project planning and process of implementation
S Develop leadership skills and team building for project management
 8 Communication Skills and Documentation 2 C4c; C4a; C7a K Understand concepts of personal and organizational communication
S Develop personal skills in communication
A Get familiar with the ethical aspects in communication
 9 Leadership In CSR/NGO Management 1.5 C4a; C6 K Learn different leadership models and styles
S Develop the skills to understand one’s own strengths and the of the others for team building
A Develop the right attitude for development leadership
10 Management Of Change 1 C1; C4a S Develop creativity and problem-solving skills for managing the change
11 Legal Aspects and Governance 1 C3; C7a K Get to understand the CSR regulations accounting standards and other legal requirements and frameworks within which the CSR activities are undertaken
A Develop an attitude for compliance and enhance governance
12 Problem Solving and Creative Thinking and Negotiations 1.5 C1; C4b; C8 S Develop problem-solving and negotiation skills
13 Development Research 1 C1 K Understand the importance of scientific inquiry and research in developmental activities
S Develop skills for scientific inquiry
14 Management of Volunteers and Learning CSR/NGO 1.5 C6; C4a K Get the scientific understanding of running a volunteer management system
S Develop leadership skills in making the organization a learning organization -Develop skills for volunteer management
15 HR Management in CSR/NGO 1.5 C5; C1 K Understand the new developments in Human resource development and H R practices
S Leaderships skills for organization development
16 Electives – Group 1+ and Group 2+ 1.5 C2; C3 K develop in-depth knowledge in the area of individual interest
17 Project work – Evaluations 2 C1; C4c K Practical experience in identifying the area of inquiry
S develop statistical analysis and report writing skills
18 Field Visit and Case Study/Report Review 1 C4a K Understand the context under which different development agencies work
S Compare and contrast with their own
A Learn from the good practices of other successful organizations
20 Book Reading C4a K expand the horizons of knowledge beyond text books
S develop skills of book review and presentation
A develop the habit of deep reflection
Total 28 (325 sessions)
+Group – I+ +Group – II
Social Marketing Research Methodology
Management of Community based Organization Effective Monitoring and Evaluation
Social Entrepreneurship and Business Plan Management of Micro Finance institutions
Risk Management in Development Sector CSR and Sustainability

Note: a1.5 credits were equivalent to 18 on-contact sessions of 70 minutes each, as also off-contact work of 60 hours

Source: The Authors

Anova table for participants’ program feedback

Analysis of variance (One-Way)
Summary
Groups Sample size Sum Mean Variance
Program Feedback Batch 1 24 221.78 9.24083 0.28526
Program Feedback Batch 2 21 196.83 9.37286 0.24714
Program Feedback Batch 3 31 284.33 9.17194 0.30924
Program Feedback Batch 4 19 172.63 9.08579 0.30566
Program Feedback Batch 5 31 281.03 9.06548 0.5035
Program Feedback Batch 6 26 236.8 9.10769 0.4591
Program Feedback Batch 7 23 214.44 9.32348 0.47147
ANOVA
Source of variation SS df MS F p-level F crit
Between groups 2.04623 6 0.34104 0.90602 0.492 2.15291
Within groups 63.23751 168 0.37641
Total 65.28374 174

Source: Authors calculations

Note

1.

Lupin Foundation is the independent CSR arm of Lupin Ltd – an Indian transnational pharmaceutical company based in Mumbai and the seventh largest global company by market capitalization. The Foundation was set up in 1988 with the objective of providing an alternative sustainable and replicable model of Holistic Rural Development in the country. Operating in 2,400 Indian villages, Lupin Foundation is one of the largest NGOs in the country (www.lupinfoundation.in/node/96).

Appendix. Lupin questionnaire using the competency framework

Q1. Did PGP-DM program help the executive in enhancing the ability to mentally foresee CSR-related issues, key concepts that will develop in the future? (C1)

Q2. Did the program help the executive’s ability to think creatively, critically, and anticipate potential consequences of Foundation and individual actions? (C1)

Q3. How effective was the program in developing the ability to mentally visualize, understand, and analyze complex and dynamic systems and issues as relevant for CSR practice? (C2)

Q4. How far was the program effective in helping the executives understand CSR drivers, standards, and regulations? (C3)

Q5. Has pursuing the PGP-DM program enabled the executives to develop a CSR vision and give the company’s CSR program direction? (C4a)

Q6. How has the ability to identify, plan, implement, and manage projects, decisions, and strategies that support CSR been enhanced? (C4b)

Q8. How far have the executives’ communication and other interpersonal skills improved that has helped them in their CSR role? (C5)

Q9. How has the PGP-DM program helped in developing personal characteristics and attitudes that support CSR? (C6)

Q10. Have any one of them been promoted to higher responsibilities due to enhanced management skills development through PGP-DM? (C6)

Q11. How has the self-learning improved and has the course led to reflection on one’s own actions and assumptions? (C8)

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Further reading

Corporate Social Responsibility in India (2013), “Potential to contribute towards inclusive social development”, available at: www.ey.com/Publication/vwLUAssets/EY-Government-and-Public-Sector-Corporate-Social-Responsibility-in-India/$File/EY-Corporate-Social-Responsibility-in-India.pdf

Corresponding author

Dr Tulsi Jayakumar is the corresponding author and can be contacted at: tulsi.jayakumar@spjimr.org

About the authors

Dr Tulsi Jayakumar is currently a Professor (Economics area) and the Program Head of the Post Graduate Program in Family Managed Business (FMB) at the S.P. Jain Institute of Management and Research, Mumbai. An Alumnus of the Delhi School of Economics, she has a rich experience of 25 years of teaching across the country.

Rukaiya Kirit Joshi is currently a Professor and the Chairperson, Centre for Education in Social Sector (CEdSS) at the S.P. Jain Institute of Management and Research, Mumbai. Professor Joshi has a rich experience of being associated with the development sector and has been in academics for more than 30 years.