CSR—A New Challenge for Universities? A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis of German Universities

  • Karl-Heinz Gerholz
  • Stefan Heinemann
Part of the FOM-Edition book series (FOMEDITION)


The topic of CSR is often discussed in connection with business organisations. But also for organisations such as universities CSR represents an important area of influence. The main, clearly related question for research is: What form of specific commitment to society is fitting for universities and society, and how can this commitment be achieved? This leads to the question of how universities should design their CSR activities. This is driven by two discourses: the CSR-and civic engagement-discourse. In the literature a missing link between these discourses can be identified, therefore our first approach is to analyse these discourses concerning their similarities and differences. In doing so, we demonstrate that there are different traditions and theoretical foundations in these discourses. Significantly, from an empirical point of view, no integrated survey of the CSR and civic engagement activities of universities has been conducted to date. Therefore, we present an empirical case study with regard to CSR and civic engagement activities of universities. We present the results of an empirical case study of the current situation of universities in Germany (the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia specifically and with a focus on business faculties) and their CSR and civic engagement activities. In conclusion, we present some preliminary inferences for future development of CSR and civic engagement activities at universities.


Corporate Social Responsibility Business Ethic Corporate Governance High Education Institution Civic Engagement 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Universität Paderborn Department of Business and Human Resource EducationPaderbornGermany
  2. 2.FOM University of Applied SciencesEssenGermany

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