Implementing corporate social responsibility for local economic and social development in emerging economies


“I decided to join this program to smoothly proceed the required change and to develop mechanisms to analyze my organization’s CSR strategy.” – Mr. Asaad Mahmood from Iraq who joined the MSM hybrid Corporate Social Responsibility program which has run from 31 January – 4 February 2022.

In a globalized world, companies are increasingly confronted with ethical norms and values that differ across countries. This provides a challenge as differing moral standards come with differing expectations on the economic, social and environmental responsibility. More than ever companies are expected by their stakeholders – such as customers, suppliers, employees, the public, and the media – to do more than simply following the law. In developing countries, where legal standards typically are weak, the question on basic responsibilities, such as protecting human rights of workers or paying living salaries, arise. Responding to this increased demand for corporate social responsibility Diederik de Boer, Associate Professor Sustainable Business Development at MSM, designed the executive Corporate Social Responsibility program.

The role of business in society
After a warm welcome and brief introduction of Dr. Diederik de Boer, the discussion started on the responsibility of organizations in a globalized world. Dr. de Boer explained that nowadays organizations are more conscious of the environment and sustainability, or of possible adverse impacts on society and consumers. Furthermore, the participants learned that not only consumers are more interested about the goods and services they purchase, but also employees have a more concern about the business they work for and the impact on society.

The importance of ethics
The next day, Ms. Mirjana Stanisic, Lecturer International Business & Sustainable Development at MSM, discussed the various initiatives organizations can take to become more socially accountable. Implementing business ethics is an essential part in this which refers to the responsibilities and tasks for all people in the organization involved.

Multi-stakeholder management and guest lectures
The third day, the participants learned all about stakeholder management. Dr. Diederik de Boer emphasized that stakeholders play a key role in the decision-making process of organizations who want to set up a focused CSR strategy. Stakeholder management can be seen as a tool by which you systematically identify, organize, monitor and improve your relationships with your stakeholders. The stakeholder analysis has been the most interesting course component for Mrs. Imen Mejri from Tunisia: “In particularly the materiality matrix has been very valuable to me as it is a new concept that this course has allowed me to acquire. In addition, the matrix can be easily applied and implemented while dealing with my current key stakeholders in the business”.  In the afternoon the participants enjoyed a guest lecture of Ms. Lori Devitto, President of AET Environmental, on Circular Economy and a second guest lecture of Mr. Fabian Grove from Arion on Health Services. For Mrs. olabisi oyekunle from Nigeria in particular this lecture has been very valuable “The part on circular economy gave me clear understanding on the happenings in the textile industry and challenged me to research more on textile waste management, and how it would help to reduce the effect of climate change and environmental pollution.”

CSR development in India
On Thursday, the morning started with another guest lecture of Ms. Radhika Ralhan on the CSR development in India. Radhika was recently awarded by the prestigious Atlas Corps Fellowship 2020 program. She was selected amongst Top 17 World Fellows, for their exemplary work in bringing social change through their skills and experience. In the afternoon, the focus was on the organizational set-up of CSR in a company and how to analyze CSR activities based on the 3P’s (People, Planet, Profit).

Presentation of group assignments
The program concluded with presentations of the group assignments on which the participants have worked throughout the program. They all finalized the course with a back home action plan, in which they applied the different lessons and approaches learned throughout the program: “Based on what I have learned through this course, I want to suggest achievable KPI’s in terms of improving and strengthening my organization’s strategy. This strategy will be of value to manage complex projects in human, organizational and social capitals in Kurdistan and also in Iraq.” Said Mr. Asaad Mahmood.

Also Mrs. olabisi oyekunle highly appreciated the program: “The lead trainers in this program have been very helpful in exposing us to CSR, despite joining virtually we were still able to interact which made the program very interesting. In addition, working together on group assignments helped me bond with my classmates from other countries and made it easy to interact and share ideas”.

Mrs. Imen Mejri was very positive about the group assignments: “I had a great experience with the group assignment as I had the chance to work on it with two nice, committed and cooperative participants.”

Mr. Asaad Mahmood fully agrees with the words of Mrs. Mejri: “Group working enabled me to pool my ideas and see problems from different perspectives. We combined a variety of skills and expertise to successfully perform our tasks.”

Would you like to join the Corporate Social Responsibility program as well?
The next executive Corporate Social Responsibility program will take place from 23 – 27 January 2023. Click here for more information and how to apply.

About MSM’s executive education programs
Today’s rapidly changing societies and economies demand the most from organizations, leaders, managers and professionals. MSM’s Executive Education programs for emerging markets are developed to achieve a successful and sustainable transformation of both individuals and organizations to support local economic development and business management.