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ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE AND STRATEGY FOR SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY PURPOSES AT UNIVERSITIES

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

University of Extremadura (SPAIN)
In the field of Business Administration and more specifically in the Organization academic area, it has been shown that there is a strong link between the structure and the strategy of companies. In these ones, the structure appears as a key element for the implementation of the stated strategy (Chandler, 1962, 1977; Andrews, 1980). We can easily say that the structure therefore follows the strategy.

In this paper the concept of strategy is discussed with reference to its development in the field of Business Organization and its relationship to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). The second step is to analyze the link between organizational structure and CSR at Universities (USR) in the context of the public Spanish Higher Education institutions. It is argued that public universities are involved in practicing their responsibility in the three classical axis (economic, social and environmental issues) and in all characteristic areas (teaching, researching, university management and active presence in society). However, for carrying on their responsible actions, universities need a favorable organizational structure. After analyzing the structure of the sixteen public Spanish universities that have published sustainability reports, the results shown that only six of them place the USR in the same first functional level than Planning, Management and Economics, Research and Innovation or Teaching.

Therefore, from the organizational perspective it is recommended that the structure fits the strategy to be committed to the twin principles of sustainability and social responsibility as foundations for all activities at universities. Thus, the governance structure at responsible universities should consider a vice-principal for promoting and controlling USR as the best way to achieve the objectives defined in this area and to be sure that they will be translated into successful actions and better reputation. Otherwise, efforts could be very expensive for small, uncoordinated and often frustrated attempts to put into practice responsible actions at universities.