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Why Corporate Social Responsibility Is the Next Management Revolution - an example from China

Why Corporate Social Responsibility Is the Next Management Revolution - an example from China

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Published by Robert Kong Hai
In the 1990's, Shao Ming Lo, the chairman of Bright China, was in an airport in North America, where he was amazed to see cleaning workers who were respected by the public and enjoyed their work. He went home to Shanghai committed to bringing that respect to Chinese workers. Like Gandhi in the 1940s, Chm. Shao believed that the only way to bring about such a change was to be responsible for creating it.
In the 1990's, Shao Ming Lo, the chairman of Bright China, was in an airport in North America, where he was amazed to see cleaning workers who were respected by the public and enjoyed their work. He went home to Shanghai committed to bringing that respect to Chinese workers. Like Gandhi in the 1940s, Chm. Shao believed that the only way to bring about such a change was to be responsible for creating it.

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Published by: Robert Kong Hai on Mar 21, 2010
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12/01/2012

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Why Corporate Social Responsibility Is the Next Management Revolution -an example from China
Bright China
In the 1990s, Shao Ming Lo, the chairman of Bright China, a development corporation inChina, was in an airport in North America, where he was amazed to see cleaningworkers who were respected by the public and enjoyed their work. He went home toShanghai committed to bringing that respect to Chinese workers. Like Gandhi in the1940s, Chm. Shao believed that the only way to bring about such a change was to beresponsible for creating it.Bright China’s management team believes that for China to become a sustainable,functioning society, its business leaders must proactively address community servicesneeds and create opportunity and respect for everyone. For its first 15 years, themanagement team led a real estate development company with a socially responsibleoutlook-in contrast to what we read about much of China’s enterprise, which is knownfor horrific industrial assault on the environment, abuse of quality, and exploitation of labor. Bright China’s management believes that if leaders better understood theresponsibility of management, the vast majority of enterprises in China would be sociallyresponsible. Hence, in the late 1990s, its mission and investments were broadened tohelp all of China learn how to lead in the Drucker way.The first strategic social investment was in a ServiceMaster franchise, after Bright ChinaChairman Shao Ming Lo was in the Chicago airport and observed its cleaning crewwearing uniforms, proud of what they were doing-in contrast to cleaning people in Chinawho worked on the floor with their hands, without training, equipment, or dignity. Whycouldn’t the ServiceMaster model be brought to China? Bright China invested in andlaunched Bright China Service Industry, the Chinese franchise of ServiceMaster, whichstarted in 1998 without any employees. Within four years it had created a successful,respectable cleaning industry in China, a watershed event. In 2006, when Bright ChinaService Industry was sold to Aramark, 7,000 employees were working with pride. Chm.Shao has not stopped tracking the company’s progress and recently noted that Aramarkgrew to over 15,000 employees and won the catering contract for the 2008 Olympics.By 1999, in part because of the Bright China Service Industry experience, Shao and hismanagement team had come to believe that China’s management needed training. Theteam believed that the underlying Chinese culture would support and even embracesocial responsibility. Yet a manager was often seen as a controlling profit-seeker. Thisprompted the second strategic social investment-a management-training institute. After visiting and studying many of the top universities worldwide, Chm. Shao concluded thatChina needed a nontraditional institute. He then went to California to visit the ninety-
 
year-old Peter Drucker. With Drucker’s encouragement, the Bright China ManagementInstitute was launched. It now has 25,000 alumni and operates programs in 10provinces and Hong Kong with a staff of 22 full-timers and 10 part-timers.In 2006, the institute was renamed the Peter F. Drucker Academy. The academy trainsabout 5,000 students per year and is targeting 10,000 per year by 2009. The curriculumfocuses on management, incorporating the best management tools and including onlyDrucker-based material with an emphasis on social responsibility. A nonprofit institution,the academy donates all its profits to promoting Drucker’s legacy across China. In fact,it has a department dedicated to social responsibility, which acts as a lighthouse to helpothers chart their management principles. In 2007, the academy donated Drucker archives named “Window to Drucker” to eight universities, launched free Drucker seminars for 2,200 students, and helped student leaders set up Drucker Societies. Theacademy is doubling its efforts in 2008.The Bright China management team’s third strategic investment is in the Bright ChinaFoundation, established to help educate and build entrepreneurial capabilities in ruralareas and prisons. Since 2003, Bright China has invested in the foundation, which hasprovided scholarships to over 19,000 students. Its entrepreneurship program operatesin six rural provinces and is targeting to train 16 million vocational students and a millionprisoners over the next five years. Each of Bright China’s investments is linked to itsoverall goal: to help create a sustainable, functioning society in China with a new kind of managerial culture, and where the level of health care and services for the lessfortunate is elevated. Bright China’s management team is currently revisiting its missionand purpose with the aim of again broadening it to capture emerging socialopportunities, all in the spirit of better serving the society in which it operates. For example, an effort is under way to support the needs of the emerging socialentrepreneurs in Hong Kong.The Bright China model of linking profit, nonprofit, and education under a broader organizational umbrella would be unusual in any nation. That this model was developedin China is compelling evidence of the power of management determination against allodds.
CSR: From Theory to a New Business Practice
Social responsibility will be built into the business theory that drives not just theseorganizations, but many of their competitors
Reprinted from: The Next Management Revolution: Investing in Social AssetsBy Elizabeth Haas Edersheim and Craig Wynett, 06/01/2008

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Abu-Isa Webb added this note
A great example for the management world to follow. It's not about increasing profit for the company, it's about contributing positively to society.
Jason Werbics added this note
A New Year readcast by the Peasant Philosopher.
tb0b liked this
Mary A Clark added this note
A sustainable, functioning society with a fair economic system that respects workers and the environment is a goal the United States needs to be doing a lot more about, too.
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