Corporate & Marketing Communication academic staff organised the successful International Conference on Social Responsibility, Ethics and Sustainable Business on 5-6 September at Bournemouth University’s Executive Business School. The event, the second annual conference, gathered 39 academics and practitioners from 14 countries, such as the UK, US, Australia, Argentina, India, Romania, Germany, Indonesia, Malaysia, Portugal, and Spain.
The event was coordinated by CMC’s Dr Georgiana F. Grigore and the committee, which comprised of Dr Anastasios Theofilou and Dr Dan Jackson, both senior lecturers in CMC; Dr Alin Stancu of Bucharest University of Economic Studies; Cristian Ducu general manager of the Centre for Advanced Research in Management and Applied Ethics; and Dr Tim Breitbarth in Sport Management at Bournemouth University.
The conference aim is to create a networking opportunity for both researchers and practitioners to discuss recent insights on socially responsible practices in the various sectors of the industry. And to that end, the delegates saw it as a succes:
“Thank you for putting on a wonderful conference. I learned a great deal from the conference; I certainly took many things I will be able to use in my communication ethics and environmental communication courses. And I was grateful to have these good corporate social responsibility scholars as a first opportunity to speak publicly about coal. I have hosted four conferences, three of them with significant international involvement. I appreciate the hard work you did to make this go smoothly and for your warm hospitality,” said Associate Professor W. Thomas Duncanson, Ph.D, of the Department of Communication at Millikin University in Illinois, USA.
The event was packed with activities, including 10 parallel sessions and two keynote speeches. Prof David Crowther, who is also Head of the Centre for Research into Organisational Governance, reflected on corporate governance principles and ways of implementing these within different organizations. Associate Prof Wim Elving at Amsterdam University highlighted the importance of CSR internal communication and stressed the role of employee as CSR ambassadors.
Papers presented at the conference covered topics from CSR and social media to cause-related marketing, from ethics in CSR communication to CSR and stakeholder engagement, and CSR and financial performance to CSR standards and organisational governance.
Richardo Wagner, German Public Relations Association (DPRG) awarded a best paper prize to Jacqueline Kirk, doctoral researcher at Nottingham University Business School. Her paper titled “Organisational Dynamic of a Corporate Responsibility Index” applies stakeholder analysis to map the organisational dynamics, interests and power relations that influence index development, arguing that networks and agency within the organisation and the organisation’s membership have an integral effect on change. In particular, the awarded paper leads to interesting insights into drivers and barriers of CSR integration, and aspects of evaluation and reporting.
During the event it became apparent that corporate social responsibility is going through a phase where both theorethical and practical aspects need to be reconsidered. Stakeholders’ skepticism and ethical stakeholder engagement have been raised consistently and offer a potential for revisiting the fundamental knowledge around ethics, social responsibilities of corporations and ways to build a mutually beneficial long term relationship between organizations and society at large. Within a fine setting, this conference sparked truly international discussions around CSR and related aspects. It was an effective platform for young researchers to further develop their projects and it fostered global networking amongst established academics.