“Corporate Responsibility Should Start in Business School” – The Chronicle of Higher Education – April 15, 2013

Kudos to Donna Sockell for her article entitled “Corporate Responsibility Should Start in Business School,” published in The Chronicle of Higher Education on April 15, 2013.

Donna Sockell is Executive Director of the Center for Education on Social Responsibility in the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado at Boulder.  Her honest exposition of the elephant in the china shop is a much needed reminder of who sews the Emperor’s clothes.

The first paragraph of the article reads as follows, “Recent charges of widespread fraud at Standard & Poor’s, along with admitted Libor rate-fixing at several banks and violations of the foreign corrupt-practices act, represent yet more moments of shame for Wall Street. But when scandals erupt in the business world, academe should feel a little sheepish. Especially in business schools, our job is to prepare leaders to make workplaces vibrant, financially successful, and driven by values. The seemingly endless stream of business scandals is evidence that business schools are falling short.”

Later in the article she makes it absolutely clear who is responsible. “The headlines may say that Standard & Poor’s as a company is charged with fraud. But a corporate entity doesn’t commit fraud, people do. Individual responsibility, in the form of continuing challenges to standard operating procedures and positive twists to routine decisions, is essential to successful corporate responsibility.”

In testimony before a French court, the rogue trader Jerome Kerviel stated, “No one told me that there were people behind all of those numbers.”  Perhaps this is true; perhaps not a single one of his professors explained the social origin, function and impact of finance.

As the article describes, the number of case studies demonstrating corporate (social) continues to grow.  Thanks to Donna Sockell and The Chronicle of Higher Education for yet another wake-up call to deans and professors at business schools “to take some responsibility for developing students’ ability to discover and apply values.”

You may read the article on The Chronicle of Higher Education internet site.