CSR Learner's Corner Archives

2 things for a true learner to know.

Good evening, dear readers!

You may have noticed something as you browse through this library, especially in the Wikipedia and journals sections. While this library’s name is CSR Bookshelf, and thus focuses on CSR research (CSR Bookshelf is connected with BCYF’s CSR World department, but not the Institute for Social Enterprise and Development [ISED] department), we are also collating materials related to social business, social enterprise, business leadership, and shared value – in addition to ethical conduct, charity, philanthropy, volunteerism, and, of course, CSR.

What does this mean?

It means that the line between CSR (or, at least, our idea of it) and social enterprise is so blurry it’s as if there’s almost no line at all. BCYF advocates CSR 3.0-based social enterprise as the way of engaging the youth and encouraging them to achieve their dreams, which is in turn our mission of creating innovative social solutions through tapping into the individual’s human dignity. Sounds pretty heavy, but it’s simply saying that the vision is for an army of social entrepreneurs contributing to nation-building – but first, they need to realize their personal social responsibilities. Which is what CSR 3.0 is all about – it’s citizenship, sustainability, and social responsibility, encompassing purposeful volunteerism, charity, personal good governance, and the Wayne Visser-led concept of transformative CSR or “CSR 2.0” (which is social entrepreneurship in itself).

So what’s in it for the CSR Bookshelf reader?

CSR Bookshelf is a research library that collates research from around the world. That said, the research it gets are from many different fields, brought together under the banner of the topics presented above. But as formal, structured, and scientific as research is, we cannot categorize things forever, and social development as a field shows this quite clearly. Research into this, therefore, would logically fall suit. One who wishes to study CSR would inevitably stumble upon some part of social enterprise – and, by extension, business principles. One who wants to become a true social entrepreneur, at least from our idea of such, would also discover a whole plethora of knowledge for the sake of personal social responsibility.

In fact, business leadership and shared value are crucial to those learning about CSR. The differences between CSR 1.0 (traditional corporate social responsibility) and CSR 2.0 are rooted in these – the former practices social responsibility as “added”, unsustainable actions and usually does so for good reputation, while the latter incorporates social responsibility into its very business existence. This involves so much thought on the part of the business leader and how much value their actions will result in, and how wide in society such value encompasses. And since CSR 3.0 draws on CSR 2.0… there you have it.

True learning does not categorize, nor does it restrict itself. True learning is always open, open to new things; take note that I said open to new things and not absorbent of such. I wrote in a previous welcome message that Saint Thomas Aquinas was known for openly listening to differing opinions about an idea and using his own experience and knowledge to further build on it. He didn’t work on those bloc by bloc, but synthesized his learnings to promote his “research agenda”. Such is true learning that we, as ever-evolving learners of CSR, should emulate.

At the same time, the mere fact that this is a research library for CSR students, professors, and researchers does not, and should not, deter non-academic individuals from becoming regular intellectual beneficiaries from accessing sites like these and others. For one thing, anyone who opens their heart and mind to it can become a “CSR student” or, to be more general, a “CSR learner”. This is why I always call CSR Bookshelf the digital home for CSR learners and teachers. Before we are teachers, we are all learners, and the latter especially applies – or can apply – to everyone in this world. In fact, the non-academic learner stands to benefit the most, as they are exposed to a whole world of things to learn at their fingertips – and research, being what it is, help provides very solid foundations for action. Suddenly, the non-academic learner, if inspired, may commit to attempt making CSR a lifestyle, but at the same already has a very keen eye for business development and a flair for creativity.

You’ve just formed a devoted developmental social entrepreneur.

That’s the magic of research and learning, which are heavily intertwined and, actually, inseparable. Research-based learning is effective – if not the most effective – because research provides the basis for what we learn; learning by plucking things from here or there, without really knowing where they’re from, could lead to awkward, unpleasant consequences. This I’ve learned from my time here, and I try to take this to heart all the time.

So although I say that here I reflect on two things that a true learner should know, I can actually boil it down to just one point: it’s all about openness. It’s about widening one’s boundaries and stepping into the unknown for the sake of further development – in all its meanings. I think being open is something that is wanting, again, across all levels of openness – the DAP/PDAF issue that has been hitting the headlines since last year is one prime example, the fact that there’s a CSR 2.0 and 3.0 on top of a 1.0 is another. This is something that is so universal and affects all of us, to the point that our future could depend on it.

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