Learning Lab

The Potential of Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate Social Responsibility, or CSR is a hot topic for many companies these days. Here in Birmingham certainly the city centre companies are mostly aware of doing things that benefit their community. Some of activities include doing a tree planting, mentoring local secondary school students or raising money for a local charity through a sponsored run. These all seem like good wholesome things to do, so why is the take up from most companies so low?

A recent set of experiments shed light on how we might increase the uptake. The experiment showed that after watching 16 public service adverts the participants who received oxytocin, compared to those who received a placebo, donated to 57% more causes, donated 56% more money and reported 17% greater concern for those in the adverts. So the question becomes…could you find a way to raise a group’s levels of oxytocin before asking them to participate in CSR?

Certainly there are lots of ways that could work:

1) Get the group physically together first, encourage them to connect – give them cupcakes or doughnuts during a mid-morning break

2) Ask them after a team building activity, paint balling, dinner etc.

3) Facilitate a brief session where they share their ideas, connect these to the bigger vision and purpose of the organisation of which they are a part

Unconventional option: Give people a hug before asking them! (Depends on your organisation of course!)

The experiments above are covered in depth in this scientific paper:

http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0056934

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