The second edition of the University of Massachusetts Boston (UMASS) – EM Normandie (EMN) Business School Research Conference on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) will be held online on 17th and 18th of June 2021.

The conference is an annual opportunity for researchers to explore, test out new ideas, and network with a diversity of peers seeking to advance our understanding of CSR as a social function that enables businesses and society to coexist and benefit from each other. It is intended to take place in a friendly and stimulating environment that allows the attendees to explore new frontiers and tackle new horizons in this important domain.  

Two main research questions will be of particular interest this year:

  • How should contextual variables be accounted for in the assessment of corporate social performance?
  • What can be learnt from corporate responses to the COVID-19 outbreak that can extended to enrich our understanding of genuine and authentic CSR? 

Keynote speakers

Thursday 17th of June – R. Edward Freeman

Edward Freeman

R. Edward Freeman is a professor of business administration at the Darden School of the University of Virginia, particularly known for his work on stakeholder theory and on business ethics. He and his co-authors Kirsten E. Martin and Bidhan L. Parmar recently published ‘The power of and: Responsible business without trade-offs’ (2020) – a book that advances Freeman’s theoretical quest for a new narrative about the nature of business and includes compelling examples of the changes needed to challenge the conventional wisdom that companies are meant to generate profits for shareholders above all else. In the conference, Professor Freeman will share his thoughts about how the Covid-19 crisis might have acted to shape a new conception of corporate stakeholder engagement, one that aligns more sharply with the theories he and his co-authors have developed over the years.

Friday 18th of June – Sandra Waddock

Sandra Waddock

Sandra Waddock is a professor of management at Boston’s College Carroll School of Management. Her research interests essentially focus on the drivers for corporate sustainability and socially responsible management practices. She recently published ‘transforming towards life-centred economics: How business, government, and civil society can build a better world’ (2020) – a book in which she explores how the creation of collaborative value, sustainable stewardship, and an ‘enough-not-more’ mantra can drive a transformational change that will benefit the all as well as the one. In the conference, Professor Waddock’s talk will build on six core precepts or values: stewardship, collective value, local governance, regeneration/reciprocity/circularity, connectedness, and equitable markets and trade. She will use this framework to question whether economies and economics should be allowed to bounce back to what they used to be before the Covid-19 pandemic, “with all their flawed assumptions and practices, despite the looming climate crisis, despite increasing calls for a ‘build back better’ logic.” Her perspective is that we ought to frame a new economic orthodoxy that fosters flourishing life for all—and not just monetary wealth for the already wealthy.

We welcome papers that do not exceed 6,000 words, as well as extended abstracts (between 1,000 and 3,000 words). The deadline for submission is extended to 5th of April 2021.

Download the call for papers


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