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Alternative learning organization

Adaptation and Context

Shih-wei Hsu

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Shih-wei Hsu

This chapter seeks to offer a critical account of CSR. While it is believed that CSR is a reaction to Milton Friedman’s argument: ‘the social responsibility of business is to increase its profits’, this chapter suggests that CSR is an economic reformist view that sees that the free market mechanism has some inherent problems which marginalize ethical behavior. Nevertheless, such a view is still rooted in an economic concept that assumes that companies should balance their financial performance and social responsibility, ultimately measured in terms of economic usefulness. The outcome is that CSR seems to legitimate an equation: good business = good ethics. The chapter employs an empirical case in China which shows that CSR can be used as a strategic tool for the companies to compete in the global market. Insofar as CSR is rooted in an economic logic, its contribution is also economic and limited to a managerial tool in dealing with the company’s relationship with society. The overall orchestration is well illustrated in Adam Smith’s story of the poor man’s son: economic progress = ethics.
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Anders Örtenblad, Shih-wei Hsu and Peter Lamb

This chapter discusses the importance of values when testing the relevance of and adapting management and panaceas for certain organizations or organizations in generalized contexts. It is suggested that when testing the relevance and adapting management and panaceas, not only should the context be taken into account but so should the stakeholder perspective. Three such stakeholder perspectives are suggested: the employer perspective, the employee perspective and the societal perspective, each with a certain interest (ideal-typically speaking): profit maximization/ efficiency/ profitability (employer perspective); well-being (employee perspective); and welfare (societal perspective). It is argued that any study of the relevance of any particular management idea or panacea for any particular organization or organizations in a generalized context should, at the least, state which perspective is taken, and ideally use more than one perspective in order to offer a more nuanced analysis of the relevance than many previous studies have done. These suggestions are illustrated through a multi-stakeholder based analysis of the idea of the learning organization.
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Anders Örtenblad, Peter Lamb and Shih-wei Hsu

In this chapter, it is suggested that the act of relevance-testing and adapting management ideas and panaceas to better fit organizations in certain contexts should not only be something that researchers are capable of performing. Students should learn how to wisely conduct these processes by themselves, rather than to having to trust that researchers do it for them. The aim of the chapter is to outline a guide for how relevance-testing and adaptation of any particular management idea or panacea for any particular organization or organizations in any generalized context can be taught at higher educational universities.