12th Grade Economics New York

Corporate Social Responsibility

There has been much debate about the role of corporations and how they function in today’s global society. Arguments abound as to whether or not these entities pay their fair share of taxes to the governments of the countries in which they operate and whether or not they have a social responsibility to act according to basic principles of human rights. Although corporations are said to provide jobs and direct investment in the economy, some argue that corporations should expand their missions to solve local and global problems. After considering the costs, benefits, and realities of corporate social responsibility (CSR), students should be able to make claims supported by evidence as to whether corporations should develop a conscience beyond their bottom line. This inquiry embeds the Taking Informed Action sequence throughout.

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Compelling Question:

Should Corporations Have a Conscience?

Staging the Question:


Research corporations’ efforts to be socially responsible (e.g., Tyson Foods’ “Hunger Relief,” Häagen-Dazs’ “Honeybee Preservation,” and the “Ronald McDonald House” campaigns). Make a list of reasons why corporations would start these types of campaigns and what issues might arise from these efforts.
1

Supporting Question What is corporate social responsibility (CSR)?

Formative Task Create a classroom definition of corporate social responsibility (CSR).

Sources Source A: “What is Corporate Social Responsibility?”
Source B: Excerpt from Corporate Social Responsibility: Making Good Business Sense
Source C: Excerpt from The Public Role of Private Enterprise: Risks, Opportunities and New Models of Engagement

2

Supporting Question What are the benefits of corporate social responsibility?

Formative Task Prepare for a structured academic controversy (SAC) by creating notecards summarizing the benefits of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and evidence to support each benefit.

Sources Source A: “Triple Bottom Line”
Source B: “Does Social Responsibility Help Protect a Company’s Reputation?”

3

Supporting Question What are concerns about corporate social responsibility?

Formative Task Prepare for a structured academic controversy (SAC) by creating notecards summarizing the concerns about corporate social responsibility (CSR) and evidence to support each criticism.

Sources Source A: “The Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits”
Source B: “Hype vs. Hope: Is Corporate Do-Goodery for Real?”

4

Supporting Question Is social responsibility in the best interest of society?

Formative Task Participate in a structured academic controversy (SAC) about whether social responsibility is in the best interest of society.

Sources Source A: Featured sources from Formative Performance Tasks 1, 2, and 3

Summative Performance Task

Argument: Should corporations have a conscience? Construct an argument (e.g., detailed outline, poster, essay) that addresses the compelling question using specific claims and relevant evidence from contemporary sources while acknowledging competing views.

Taking Informed Action

Understand: Accomplished through Formative Tasks 1, 2, and 3
Assess: Accomplished through Formative Task 4
Act: Write a letter reacting to the efforts of a company that is engaged in a social-responsibility project.