Rotman School of Management

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Resources and Toolkits

A selection of practical summaries, tools and research resources on Corporate Sustainability, Social Innovation, and Responsible Investment.

Research Briefs

Projects

The Decisions Project: what's a CEO to do?

The Decisions Project: What’s a CEO to do?

One of the core dedicated research projects of the Lee-Chin Institute is to apply and test our models and tools in real corporate environments and create further practical resources for business leaders based on real experience.

tool kitThe What’s a CEO to do? Toolkit is a real-world guide that helps business leaders understand and prioritize key social and environmental issues and identify opportunities as well as potential risks.

The Toolkit, authored by Rod Lohin and Alison Kemper, expands on the work of Rotman Dean Roger Martin, who in 2002 penned the seminal “The Virtue Matrix” for the Harvard Business Review.

The Toolkit links Martin’s theoretical framework with a real-life case. In 2005-07, members of the the Lee-Chin Institute worked closely with RBC Financial Group, Canada’s largest company, to develop a corporate responsibility strategy. During this process, we applied existing tools and developed new ones which have been incorporated into the Toolkit.

Shari Austin, RBC’s Vice President and Head, Corporate Citizenship, and Executive Director, RBC Foundation, says: “Creating a corporate citizenship strategy is not an easy task, but it is a critical one for companies wanting to establish themselves or improve their performance and reputation in this area.  This toolkit outlines some of RBC's experiences on this journey, and we hope that it will inspire and help others to find their own way.”

As well, we have taken the unusual step of e-publishing the Toolkit with a Creative Commons license so that it can be used in boardrooms and classrooms with appropriate attribution. As Alison Kemper says, “we want users to adapt and apply the Toolkit in their own contexts. We would be delighted to hear from users to incorporate their experiences and help us produce the next generation of the toolkit.”

To download the Toolkit, click here.

The Definitions Project: the meaning of social responsibility

In order for today's business leaders to engage in corporate citizenship, they need to have an accepted and actionable definition of it. Unfortunately, Votow's (1973) assertion still holds true today:

"[Social responsibility] means something, but not always the same thing, to everybody. To some it conveys the idea of legal responsibility or liability; to others, it means socially-responsible behaviour in an ethical sense; to still others, the meaning transmitted is that of 'responsible for', in a causal mode; many simply equate it with charitable contribution; some take it to mean socially consious; many of those who embrace it most fervently see it as a mere synonym for 'legitimacy'. "

In 2005-6 and again in 2010, the Lee-Chin Institute undertook the Definitions Project aimed at collecting existing definitions of the concept. For a record of the 2005-6 definition database, please click here.

 

The Models Project: A robust actionable model for social responsibility

The work of the Lee-Chin Institute is to create and disseminate a robust actionable model for making business decisions about corporate citizenship for current and future business leaders.

As a first step in developing a comprehensive model, in 2006 and again in 2010 the Lee-Chin Institute engaged in gathering, cataloguing, exploring and reviewing existing corporate citizenship models from the 1960s to the present. Since that time we have catalogued and examined almost 100 models. Although many models exist from many perspectives (e.g. moral development, social contract theory, stakeholder theory), a comprehensive model is lacking.

To date, almost 100 models of corporate citizenship have been gathered or contributed by academics, practitioners and management students. For a record of the 2010 model database, please click here.

 
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