Couses uses case analyses to emphasize the business model in the context of social, cultural and environmental responsibility
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Oregon State University (OSU), in support of its vision to rank among the top Land Grant universities in the nation, places significant emphasis on addressing the social, ethical and environmental issues facing society. The mission of the College of Business (COB), aligned with the mission of the University, is to provide research-based education that is internationally recognized and prepares profession-ready graduates who will lead in an innovation economy. The COB is focusing its efforts on entrepreneurship and innovation by providing knowledge and expertise that promote the development of sustainable business practices, new products, processes, and organizational forms. As the graduate program within the College, the MBA degree program is a critical component of the mission of the COB with the goal to educate leaders who manage creative organizations and take ideas to the global marketplace.
The MBA program is distinctive in that it delivers an integrated and comprehensive general business curriculum with an emphasis on entrepreneurship, innovation and experiential learning. Our program goal is to graduate students who will be able to create, build and manage innovative, socially responsible and sustainable enterprises in a global business environment. The program’s emphasis on sustainability ensures that students entering the business world understand that a sustainable business meets economic, social and environmental needs without compromising the future of any of them. The concepts of sustainability are integrated throughout the MBA curriculum. Rather than having one or two stand alone courses that are completed by a limited number of students, our objective is to expose all MBA students to topics surrounding sustainability. MBA classes give students the tools that empower them to have a positive impact on their companies, careers and the global community.
The curriculum for the MBA program is comprised of three levels of course work: foundation knowledge, advanced management topics, and the Integrated Business Project (IBP). The foundation knowledge coursework provides the fundamental components of business background considered necessary to succeed in subsequent graduate level courses. The advanced management graduate courses were designed to add significant incremental learning and experiences beyond the foundational knowledge courses and offer students in-depth exposure to current topics in business.
The IBP has evolved to be the prime distinguishing feature of the MBA program at OSU. The IBP serves as the primary tool to integrate the curriculum across functional courses throughout the program. It requires all students to learn practical business skills by creating and delivering research-driven business plans that focus on the commercialization of new technologies. The focus of the IBP on technology commercialization has proved to be particularly effective in defining the scope of entrepreneurial and experiential learning within the program and in attracting high quality students with technical backgrounds in science, technology and engineering. To culminate this experiential learning process, teams compete in a business project competition judged by seasoned entrepreneurs, executives, and venture capitalists who provide valuable, practical feedback to the teams.
The MBA program, through the IBP, has become an integral part of the research at OSU that is focused on sustainability issues. In the past five years, over 20 MBA IBPs have provided commercialization plans for sustainability-related research. For example:
Other IBPs completed by MBA teams within the past five years that directly relate to the sustainability initiatives at OSU include:
Oregon State University (OSU) is one of only two U.S. universities designated a land-, sea-, space- and sun-grant institution. In support of its vision to rank among the top Land Grant universities in the nation OSU places significant emphasis on addressing the social, ethical and environmental issues facing society. Phase II of OSU’s strategic plan for 2009-2013 focuses on three Signature Areas of Distinction that directly address social, ethical and environmental issues: Advancing the Science of Sustainable Earth Ecosystems; Improving Human Health and Wellness; and Promoting Economic Growth and Social Progress. All three build upon the University's core teaching and research strengths, the skill and capacities of its faculty, and OSU's many established national and international partnerships and collaborations. Collectively, the Signature Areas represent OSU's greatest opportunity to lead in solving complex societal problems, and to creating superior learning opportunities for students by:
Examples of sustainable/responsible practices at Oregon State University:
Key Research Activities at OSU focused on sustainability issues:
Examples of OSU Research Centers and Programs focused on sustainability issues:
Couses uses case analyses to emphasize the business model in the context of social, cultural and environmental responsibility
The objective of this course is the application of finance theory and principles to the analysis of important business problems. Specific topics will include capital budgeting, cost of capital, real options, capital structure, payout policy, and enterprise valuation. The course is structured around the Enlightened Shareholder Model or Enlightened Stakeholder Theory. We discuss corporate social responsibility and corporate governance issues at the introductory session where we cover the goal of financial management. We discuss whether the goal is to maximize shareholder wealth or corporate wealth. By definition, corporate wealth includes all stakeholders’ benefit, not just shareholders’ wealth. To maximize corporate wealth, firms would need to consider all stakeholders that include employees, suppliers, customers, society (government), etc. and the environmental issues for sustainable business. The objective of this course is the application of finance theory and principles to the analysis of important business problems. Specific topics will include capital budgeting, cost of capital, real options, capital structure, payout policy, and enterprise valuation.
This course integrates environmental with corporate strategy and supply chain management strategy and examines how companies, private and public, small and big, can build core competencies to create business value and positive social change.
Students will be exposed to the theories, frameworks, and cases of corporate environmental management. We investigate "good practices" of companies and supply chains that have implemented strong environmental practices and gained both financial profit and social benefit. Students will gain both a broad understanding of the environmental issues associated with business operations and entrepreneurship, along with a deep vertical knowledge of various industries that play important roles in the Oregon economy.
The course will cover a variety of current topics including environmental economics, natural resource management, social entrepreneurship, and supply chain management. It also introduces management and innovation tools to address environmental and social issues. Theories, business cases, and discussions led by business leaders are combined throughout the course to create a stimulating and engaging learning environment.
Our coverage of Corporate Social Responsibility includes an overview of the evidence pertaining to the relationship between CSR and profitability, a discussion of issues arising from the most common definition of sustainability, and discussion of the ways in which accountants and managers have incorporated CSR into their practice and theory, including the Balanced Scorecard, the Triple-Bottom-Line, the Global Reporting Initiative, and corporate mission statements.
This is a course that requires students to complete an Integrated Business Plan (IBP) as a means of directing the development of a business. The business plan helps focus a business idea, chart a course for strategic business development, and facilitates setting objectives and creating evaluative benchmarks of projects. The class emphasizes projects based on research discoveries from Oregon State University that have commercialization applications. Students are required to evaluate the implications of applying concepts of sustainability, ethics and social responsibility to managerial decisions within their IBPs.
An entrepreneurial focus is provided in the course with emphasis on legal and ethical issues related to new organizations or new ventures within existing organizations. Focuses on business law for founders of start-up companies including formation of new business entities, protecting intellectual property, workforce management and global issues. Students explore important ethical concerns through class discussion and readings from diverse perspectives. The case method is used to provide insights into legal and ethical challenges associated with investigating misconduct and preventing corruption, including bribery in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Students write a comprehensive research paper related to legal and ethics topics in the course.
This course deals with planning, scheduling, organizing, and implementing projects - e.g., product development, construction, information systems, new business, and special events. A socio-technical perspective is applied which emphasizes both the science (tools/techniques) and art (culture/people) of project management. Today, managing projects is critical to business success. Course includes a focus on risk management in managing projects, including impact on environment, laws, society and organization.
BA 590 examines the new product development process, including the social, environmental, and sustainability ramifications of developing products and services.
Guest entrepreneurs and venture professionals will make presentations to share their knowledge and provide advice and feedback to Integrated Business Plan teams. Seminar includes topics related to sustainable and socially responsible new ventures.
Guest speakers include Brad Zenger who is a Founder and Managing Director of Pivotal Investments, the Northwest's first venture capital firm enabling the sustainable economy through a disciplined, early stage investment approach. The sustainable economy is characterized by a dramatic shift in the demand for clean energy, safe water, clean air, "green" materials and healthy food. Brad also had a key leadership role in 2008 founding the Oregon Sustainability Angels Network.
Traditional graduate-level organization management course with discussion of leadership approaches and style relevant to organizations concerned about the alignment of strategic goals, organizational design and corporate social responsibilities.
What does it take to build a company in the 21st century? James Curleigh, chief executive officer, president, and chief product tester at KEEN, Inc., in Portland, Oregon, addressed that question on October 5, 2010, as part of the Dean’s Distinguished Lecture Series hosted by the Oregon State University College of Business.
The lecture series brings dynamic business leaders on campus twice a year to talk with students and the general public about how their companies have achieved or sustained a profitable business operation. It is just one small part of the college’s ongoing commitment to connecting students with working professionals.
Curleigh shared his insights on what it takes for a company to be successful when it is “born this century.”
“Being born this century means taking risks, and taking risks means having some innovation that gets backed up by execution,” said Curleigh.
KEEN was founded in 2003 with the introduction of its flagship product: a trekking sandal with patented toe-protection technology. The company might not have been born at all had the sandal’s design not been rejected by nine major footwear manufacturers because they thought it was ugly.
Fortunately for outdoor enthusiasts, the founders believed in their vision and were willing to take risks to realize it. They launched the Newport sandal at a winter tradeshow—defying traditional manufacturing cycles—and went on to birth the concept of the “HybridLife,” which has become a branding strategy and an operating philosophy. Today, the company offers more than 500 products and has a distribution network that spans the globe.
An underlying concept of the Hybrid Life is seeking balance in all areas, Curleigh said. For example, it is important to find the balance between innovation and execution, risk-taking and patience, control and chaos, today’s and tomorrow’s needs, economics and environmentalism.
Curleigh inferred that surviving in the 21st century also requires rethinking some tried and true business strategies. “A lot of companies start by understanding wants and needs and trying to find better solutions,” he said. Although he admitted that such an approach is not “wrong,” he suggested another possibility. “At KEEN, we give people what they didn’t know they needed, but when they get it, they can’t live without it.”
The Oregon State University Austin Entrepreneurship Program (AEP) and Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) hosted a presentation by Mr. Douglas R. Conant, President and CEO of Campbell Soup Company. He was at OSU in honor of the AEP/SIFE team that was the 2010 national overall winner of the Campbell Soup Company's Let's Can Hunger Challenge.
Mr. Conant highlighted 12 lessons from his 34-year corporate journey and share glimpses into his personal life through his presentation "Over 30 Years in the Rearview Mirror."
Campbell Soup Co. president and CEO Douglas Conant said his company continues to fare well in bad times by providing good food at a low cost.
Conant traveled to Corvallis from the company’s headquarters in Camden, N.J. on Monday — enduring lengthy weather-related delays — to congratulate a group of Oregon State University’s Students in Free Enterprise students. They’d won first place in the national 2010 “Let’s Can Hunger” challenge for Campbell’s with their Hunger in the Homeland campaign.
The 40-member club, lead by students Jennifer Villalobos and Dale McCauley, raised more than 17,000 pounds of food for local food banks last year. The members donated 5,000 hours of volunteer service and some traveled 15,000 miles around the country to educate people about hunger. In addition to the “Let’s Can Hunger Program,” Campbell’s helps run the largest single-day food drive each year, in partnership with the U.S. Postal Service.
On Monday, about 15 SIFE members met with Conant before his talk, and he thanked them for their contributions.
“We appreciate the energy you are bringing.”
Conant, who has had 30 years’ experience in the food industry, said even an established company like Campbell — which has endured many recessions and depressions since its establishment 1860 — has relied on time-tested strategies of flexibility, innovation — and frugality.
The program's mission is to accumulate and disseminate information on the relationship among business, the environment, and society with an aim of helping students and members of the business community answer the following questions:
- Is it possible for an organization to simultaneously have superior performance on economic, environmental, and societal indicators?
- If so, how is this superior performance achieved?
- If not, what are the trade-offs?
The teaching philosophy at the OSU College of Business integrates germane and scientifically tested information on the relationship between business, the environment and society into all courses. Rather than having one or two stand alone courses that a limited number of students take, we are working to expose all of our students to topics surrounding sustainability.
Our goal is to create and disseminate information on how (if) business can cope with increasing needs to simultaneously excel in economic, environmental, and social contexts. Traditional business research has focused on a single bottom line of profits; our research is focused on how to create top performance when the bottom line is measured on the three criteria of economic, environmental, and social performance. We are focused on helping business determine how to manage and invest to excel along multiple dimensions and over the long term.
Retrieval of useful digitized learning objects is a key objective for educational digital libraries, but imprecise definitions of alignment hinder the development of effective retrieval mechanisms. With over 63,000 U.S. K-12 science and mathematics education standards and a rapid proliferation of Web-enabled curriculum, retrieving curriculum that aligns with the standards to which teachers must teach is increasingly important. Previous studies of such alignment use single-dimensional and binary measures of relevance. Perhaps as a consequence they suffer from low inter-rater reliability (IRR), with experts agreeing about alignments only some 20-40% of the time. We present the results of an experiment in which the dependent variable ‘alignment’ is operationalized using the Saracevic model of relevance in which; i.e., alignment is defined and measured through ‘clues’ from the everyday practice of K-12 teaching. Results show higher inter-rater reliability on all clues with significantly higher IRR on several specific alignment dimensions. In addition, a (linear) model of ‘overall alignment’ is derived and estimated. Both the structure and explanatory power of the model differ significantly between searching vs. assessment. These results illustrate the usefulness of clue-based relevance measures for information retrieval and have important consequences for both the formulation of automated retrieval mechanisms and the construction of a gold standard set of standard-curriculum alignments.
Case studies of 10 exemplar firms are used to build a coherent and testable model of the elements necessary to create a sustainable supply chain. The cases build on previous research by examining the chain as an entirety, by explicitly examining both the social and environmental outcomes of the chain's activities, and by explicitly asking what these exemplar organizations are doing that is unique in regards to managing their supply chains in a sustainable manner. The analysis suggests that the practices that lead to a more sustainable supply chain are equal parts best practices in traditional supply chain management and new behaviors, some of which run counter to existing accepted “best” practice.
Critics of business education (e.g., Ghoshal, 2005; Mitroff, 2004) place much of the blame for recent ethical scandals on the lack of moral development of managers and the amoral, "profits-first" theoretical underpinnings of business education. To empirically test these claims, we surveyed 1,080 business and nonbusiness students from a major research university. The results suggest that neither the personal moral philosophies of business and nonbusiness students, nor the personal moral philosophies of business freshmen and business seniors differed significantly. Based on our results, we found no evidence to support the claims of critics who suggest business education is associated with negative personal moral philosophies of students. Further, the attitudes of business freshmen and business seniors concerning profit and sustainability differed significantly, yet in the direction opposite the one Ghoshal (2005) and others would have predicted. Thus, blaming the rash of ethical scandals on the amoral and "profits-first" theoretical underpinnings of business school training might be too simplistic of an approach.
This paper investigates the challenges and opportunities of how firms and organizations can and will be able to strike a better balance between economic growth and environmental stewardship in the context of China’s emerging ‘circular economy’ policy paradigm and based on ecological modernization theoretic approaches. Based on three company case studies in the information technology and electronic industries in China, we identify and demonstrate how a blended business and environmental value can be created from adopting a sustainable supply chain management approach. The adoption of a sustainable supply chain management approach is rapidly becoming a key business challenge and opportunity in China and other large emerging economies around the world, where our greatest environmental management challenges currently reside and will continue to exist for many years to come. The value creation framework proposed in research focuses on evaluating three case study companies who appear in various stages of an electronic industry supply chain. Value creation within a supply chain can provide the impetus for organizations to adopt circular economy, sustainable supply chain practices, for competitive reasons. In addition, we describe how a value proposition can be evaluated at two levels of analysis, a more specific micro-level and a more general meso-level of analysis. The four major business value dimensions include cost reduction, revenue generation, resiliency, and legitimacy and image. The initial findings are that a variety of opportunities exist for electronic firms in emerging and developing countries, while results from this study provide an important scholarly foundation to develop and refine sustainable supply chain management practices in emerging and developing economies.
Managers are increasingly faced with pressure to think not just about profits, but also about their organization's environmental and social performance. This research provides a first examination of operational managers' experiences with and attitudes about employee well-being and environmental issues, how these factors impact employee well-being and environmental performance, and how the three performance measures interrelate. We use violations of Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations and Toxic Release Inventory reports of emissions as proxies for employee well-being and environmental performance. Our findings suggest that operational managers do not (yet) think in sustainability terms. However, employee well-being and environmental performance do interact in a significant way with operational performance. Hence, operational managers would benefit from a more complete understanding of the relationships among the elements of the triple bottom line.
This article describes a service-learning assignment for a project management course. It is designed to facilitate hands-on student learning of both the technical and the interpersonal aspects of project management, and it involves student engagement with real customers and real stakeholders in the creation of real events with real outcomes. As such, it helps students internalize project management principles and value project management tools. Student teams design and implement plans for events intended to result in significant contributions in support of various charitable organizations. They create the planning and execution documents required of project management teams. The article describes the assignment and its results and discusses some cautions and alternatives.
We examine the impact that gender diversity has on angel group investment behavior for a sample of 183 group-years between 2000 and 2006. Our evidence suggests that gender diversity is a significant predictor of group investment behavior, and that the proportion of women angels in the group has a negative though nonlinear effect on investment likelihood. These data are most consistent with a situational interpretation that women invest differently when they are in the small minority compared with other situations. These results have important implications for the availability of funds for women entrepreneurs and call for greater participation of women investors in the angel marketplace.
Purchasing portfolios are a well accepted part of the supply chain literature. Yet during a recent data collection effort we observed that a number of leaders in sustainable supply chain management were not organizing their purchasing portfolios in the manner suggested by Kraljic (1983). Specifically, we found evidence of organizations buying what would traditionally be leveraged commodities in a manner more suited to strategic suppliers. This manuscript describes the observed phenomena and then uses theory to try and explain our observations. The end result is a modified sustainable purchasing portfolio model.
Social entrepreneurship has been the subject of considerable interest in the literature. This stems from its importance in addressing social problems and enriching communities and societies. In this article, we define social entrepreneurship; discuss its contributions to creating social wealth; offer a typology of entrepreneurs' search processes that lead to the discovery of opportunities for creating social ventures; and articulate the major ethical concerns social entrepreneurs might encounter. We conclude by outlining implications for entrepreneurs and advancing an agenda for future research, especially the ethics of social entrepreneurship.