What can Commercial Companies Learn about CSR within Communities from Social Entrepreneurs in India? A Case Study of Aurolab

By Nicola H. J. Swan.

Published by The Sustainability Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper sets out to explore how companies can achieve their corporate social responsibilities (CSRs) to communities in developing countries and achieve their business objectives. To accomplish this, an exploratory case study of Aurolab in India was used. Aurolab is an extreme and unique case, which it is hoped is revelatory, so laying the basis for future research in this field. A thorough review of the literature evaluates historic and current thinking on CSR in communities. From this a proposition is put for further investigation. Evidence from the literature suggests that management practices leading to civil empowerment can lead to improved trust, reputation and the creation of core competences and distinctive capabilities, which ultimately assist in the generation of competitive advantage. However, it also shows us that this is not sufficient on its own. Companies with high levels of CSR must take a leadership position; they must show sensitivity to cultural issues, local causes, community identity, two-way communication and empathy. This must all be exhibited both strategically and operationally with a view to the sustainability of behaviours and actions. A desktop review of Aurolab is followed by semi-structured interviews, a site visit by the author for personal observation and many informal interviews. The intention of this process was to test the outcomes of the literature to see if the key constructs were valid. On the basis of this field research plus some external interviews to establish external validity it was concluded that the proposition was confirmed. Aurolab is a commercial organisation with a legacy of emerging from a social enterprise. They maintain a non-profit status because they return all profits to their social cause. However, possibly due to the legacy of their origins they display all of the attributes of a corporate socially responsible organisation. This paper focuses on the practicality of transfering these atributes to commercial organisations.

Keywords: Corporate Social Responsibility, CSR, Communities, Social Entrepreneur, Rural

The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, Volume 3, Issue 5, pp.75-84. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 669.781KB).

Nicola H. J. Swan

Consultant, International Rural Network, UK

Nicola works as a management consultant in the sphere of sustainable rural development. She has an MBA from Henley Management College, UK, as well as post graduate qualifications in research methodology and law. Previously, she was CEO for the Queensland Rural Medical Support Agency in Australia during its set up years. She is the Programme administrator for the Arkleton Trust. This Trust was established to study new approaches to rural education and development, and foster better communication between academics, rural communities, practitioners and policy makers. Other current appointments include: Parish councillor for the rural village of Streatley; Director and Honorary Secretary for the International Rural Network (IRN). The IRN is an inclusive and interdisciplinary network of academics, rural community practitioners and activists, and policy makers who are engaged in rural community development, health and education in any country of the world. The aim of the network is as a means of sharing knowledge, research and experience, building capacities, and establishing mutual assistance. Nicola’s practical management interests cover rural health, education and forestry from a management and community view point. Her academic interests focus on governance and corporate social responsibility particularly as both are implemented in developing and emerging economies.


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