Beyond Grey Pinstripes


Course Information


CSR: Social Venture Management (2011)


Topic Areas

CSR/Business Ethics

This course’s central question is how pursuit of profit is reconciled with non-financial goals. The method of answering this question is to be case analysis with each class focused on a different company. For example, how do “socially responsible” enterprises integrate social goals into their business plans? How do Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two publicly-traded highly-profitable financial intermediaries, manage their twin goals of profitability and provision of financing for affordable housing. How do investors (including large pension funds) use their capital as a tool to promote social objectives? How do private contractors, such as prison companies, maximize shareholder return while satisfying government clients? Public-interest enterprises are those that integrate the concerns of corporate “stakeholders,” the wide range of people and communities affected by a company’s operations, as opposed to more narrow focus on shareholders. While American businesses have generally focused exclusively on return to shareholders, European and other non-US business cultures have traditionally embraced broader “stakeholder” considerations. What are the advantages and drawbacks of each approach? Does consideration of stakeholders imply a sacrifice of profitability? Can American companies adopt an approach that is generally alien in U.S. business culture? These questions will serve as the recurrent theme throughout the class. This class addresses this question focusing on management of social ventures, enterprises integrating profitability and social objectives, as they address specific challenges.


Koppell, Jonathan