PROMOTING CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY IN THE HIGHER EDUCATION BY FOSTERING SOCIAL INTRAPRENEURS ACTIONS

M.I. Sanchez-Hernandez, D. Gallardo-Vazquez

University of Extremadura (SPAIN)
The concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR) has evolved over time and now it is concerned to a wide range of organizations given the market character of the environment with its emphasis on globalization and competition. In this context, many educational institutions are trying to adopt a more business-like orientation to accomplish the changes. Higher Education Institutions are also implementing social responsible practices in order to maintain competitive advantage through addressing economic, social, and environmental issues. CSR at Universities - University Social Responsibility (USR) - is all about going beyond simply “what is required” in legislation, rules and regulations. USR means to be transparent in its communication of its performance, to be well managed holding strong governance procedures, to be responsive to the needs of its stakeholders, responsible in its values, attitudes and actions, and able to be trusted. However, despite the existing debate concerning CSR and its link with Higher Education strategy, practical guidelines for CSR implementation in educational institutions remain unclear. In this work the consideration of a specific institution´s internal stakeholder is analysed in the Higher Education context: social intrapreneurs. The concept of social entrepreneurs to refer the creation of organizations which principal aim is getting social goals is not new in academic literature. However, the concept of social intrapreneurs has recently emerged referring internal social actions to equilibrate the core business with purely social goals. Based on the characteristics described by Austin et al. (2005), we identify social intrapreneurs in a specific University in Spain starting to implement social responsible practices. Conducting personal interviews, we analyse their potential role as catalysts for a social change in the institution and their role in transforming the institution in a more responsible institution aware of social problems. The accumulated knowledge of social intrapreneurs, their wants and needs and disinterested support to social goals into the University, are object of analysis. The article offers as conclusions a timely contribution to current debates concerning the universities potential in society and their active role during a time of economic restraint. We believe that our findings should have considerable value for those who are interested in how the field of CSR is expanding at Higher Education institutions.