Kara Kahley is American Rights at Work’s Socially Responsible Business Intern.
It has been said that “Doing well by doing good” is the new M.O. of the business world. Companies are realizing that there’s more to business than profit, and management education is beginning to reflect that perspective.
Traditionally, management education has focused primarily on creating shareholder value, but this too is changing. Social responsibility was once a trendy offering only at certain schools, but it is now becoming mainstream. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the premiere accrediting body for management education, has begun to push for more emphasis on ethics and sustainability in its schools’ programs. Additionally, the presence of Net Impact, a student organization for corporate social responsibility, is rapidly expanding.
Many schools have departments and professors that focus on responsible business practices, like the University of California, Berkeley, Haas Center for Social Responsibility and Boston College’s Center for Corporate Citizenship, but what does all this mean for workers?
Corporate responsibility often touches on employee engagement and training, as well as diversity, but workers’ rights usually get less attention.
That’s a shame. Because to lead a truly successful operation on all fronts, managers need to foster good relations with all employees. That means respecting their rights, compensating them fairly, and listening to their input. The payoff? Higher productivity, lower turnover, and a loyal workforce.
As Greek playwright Sophocles put it, “Without labor, nothing prospers.”