Balancing Profit and People: Corporate Social Responsibility in Business Education Academic Article uri icon


  • This qualitative studys purpose was to evaluate how undergraduate business students perspectives, skills, and behaviors evolved through corporate social responsibility (CSR) education taught with a focus on critical thinking and sustainable problem solving. Business schools are struggling to incorporate CSR into their curriculum despite interest from students and pressure from accreditation agencies. This article primarily contributes practical tools for business schools teaching students to apply critical thinking skills and concepts gained through their business education to develop solutions to economic, social, and environmental problems. Instructors taught the following topics: definitions of CSR, the triple bottom line, stakeholder theory, exposure to social problems, businesses roles in exacerbating or mitigating social problems, specific sustainable solutions companies and nonprofit organizations have implemented, and analysis of public companies sustainability reports. Topics were taught using critical thinking tools, such as a decision-making model, a funneling exercise, a root problems activity, and reflection and metareflection. The instruction followed a specific teaching model to promote critical thinking skills development, which can be implemented by other faculty. We found CSR concepts motivated students by giving them the tools and confidence in their abilities to solve meaningful problems and learning outcomes for both CSR and critical thinking were achieved.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 7.58

author list (cited authors)

  • Deer, S., & Zarestky, J.

citation count

  • 13

complete list of authors

  • Deer, Shannon||Zarestky, Jill

publication date

  • October 2017