A holistic business dynamics perspective on how we achieve equity in the workforce and the importance of corporate social responsibility initiatives on wider economic growth
The importance of organizations’ role in social growth and development has been debated by practitioners and scholars for at least six decades from the standpoint of business ethics, social responsibility, sustainability, and corporate social responsibility, amongst others. Throughout the years, discussions have shifted from a focus on shareholder value and financial performance (i.e. the bottom line) to environmental performance, stakeholder added value, social wellbeing, and global sustainable development. There are far too many issues that permeate society and deter significant growth and development, many of which have been deplorably normalized. Even after experiencing the effects of disasters and crises that have obstructed economic growth, there is a persistent lag in the effort to effectively change the status quo pertaining to social development.
My main area of research is corporate social responsibility (CSR) and its convergence with stakeholder added value, corporate governance, social media and networks, strategic management and marketing, consumer behavior, and leadership, amongst others. CSR operates on the basis of three pillars: social, economic, and environmental performance. It is a holistic approach to business dynamics, by which organizations proactively work by and for society, and cooperate with current and potential stakeholders to foster social and business growth and development. Ensuring collaborator wellbeing (i.e. physical, psychological, emotional, psychosocial, cognitive, financial, development, etcetera) is essential to effective corporate social responsibility engagement and, therefore, social and economic growth and development. Therefore, my research directly correlates the sustainable development goals, including decent work and economic growth (SDG8).
There are too many pressing issues related to economic recovery including, but not limited to: poverty, hunger, health, systemic racism, violence, environmental deterioration, education, and social justice, amongst many others. However, one of the most critical issues for economic recovery is equity, more specifically, lack of equity. Economic recovery is not plausible as long as there are still workers around the world that are exploited, refused equal access to opportunities, receive unfair compensation, and/or are discriminated against in any form. Collaborators are arguably one of the most important groups of stakeholders as without them organizations cannot operate. To combat this, organizational leaders must strive to guarantee just and healthy working environments in order to begin to tackle the long-lasting effects of inequality and inequity.
The issues currently obstructing social and economic growth and development are detected worldwide; however, they are exponentially intensified in developing countries and emerging markets. These countries not only have significant social, economic, and political issues, but they are also where the backend of the majority of global supply chains are operating which are commonly associated with labor exploitation. Researchers take on an important role in solving the issues that permeate society; they do so by posing and answering complex questions, developing working models, and testing and advancing theory. Researchers can shed light on the underlying factors exacerbating inequity, provide insights into managerial and global implications, as well as develop solutions that can be executed by practitioners and, therefore, influence significant change.
There are two main aspects that need to be considered in the face of unprecedented crises or disasters to drive economic recovery. The first aspect is effective strategic planning that includes contingency and crisis planning. Although it may be argued that unprecedented crises are basically unpredictable, there is enough information and data on the effects of past crises and disasters to build scenarios to prepare for events that may challenge economic stability. The second is that in order to drive economic recovery, it is imperative to recognize that what was once normal is not the goal. In other words, rather than striving to go back to a pre-pandemic, or a pre-crisis, pre-disaster status quo, researchers and practitioners need to work towards reengineering with a vision of what could be to ensure global sustainable development.
There is a lot of pressure to provide insights that will drive economic growth; however, the latter is achievable and sustainable only when social wellbeing is upheld. Therefore, researchers need to prioritize social growth and development as key variables in their research projects, instead of it merely being a second thought or a collateral effect.
About the Author:
Andrée Marie López-Fernández holds a PhD in Administrative Sciences from the EGADE Business School, and a BA in Business Administration from the Instituto Tecnológico de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey. Dr. Andrée Marie is a Professor and Researcher at the Business Department of the Universidad Panamericana. Her main line of research is Corporate Social Responsibility, which has resulted in the presentation of her work at International Conferences and publications in International Refereed Journals, as well as books and book chapters. Dr. Andrée Marie is an Associate Editor for Emerald Emerging Markets Case Studies, and has been conferred as a member of the Mexican National System of Researchers by CONACYT.