Library Exercises 4-6


Exercise 4: Prospectus Brainstorming on Blog


Are we becoming an oligopoly? Rule by the rich: rule by rich people and rich corporations

  • With CSR, people EXPECT societal contributions from businesses, as if these businesses are the government

  • They do this in part because of the gentrification, inequalities created by the tech industries, also because of their great power

  • Open source data, should corporations share data? Privacy versus protection, case where Uber or even pizza delivery can reach people faster and more accurately than ambulances/police


What Does Corporate Social Responsibility Mean for the Technology Sector?

  • “The industry faces mounting calls to make greater societal contributions beyond those of profit. The technology field is uniquely positioned to give back to society in ways that distinguish it from other industries.”

  • “However, for a field that prides itself on innovation, the prevailing manner in which the technology sector is giving back looks a lot like every other industry: corporate philanthropy and volunteer campaigns. This begs the question: Are there unique ways that the information technology sector can give back, and if so, what are they? The answer lies in invigorating how the sector pursues corporate responsibility (CSR) strategies.”


  • Major companies now have in-house CSR divisions and strategies; traditional manufacturing sectors have made big advances in defining and implementing responsible business practices, CSR focus on wellbeing of labor and the environment

    • But this clarity doesn’t exist for the technology sector, labor is not vulnerable but a well-compensated programmer, environment is confined to reducing carbon emissions by increasing computing efficiency

  • So technology professionals are trying to figure out what it means to give back and how to do so, some promising practices

    • hackathons are a common technique to spur innovation in the technology field, Cloudera hosted a hackathon to help a nonprofit

    • fosters partnerships b/w its members and gov’t to use technology to solve city problems (here is an example of the lines between government and corporations blurring)

    • Google’s Person Finder web application to find people after emergencies, allows nonprofits and gov’t agencies to contribute and receive data

    • show that the technology sector is best at capturing, analyzing, and sharing data, so data analytics is the best they can offer the social sector; the social sector is lacking the ability to collect/use data so would be extremely helpful, would build public trust and support for companies in return


CSR and Sustainability in the Technology Industry: Case of Google, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Intel and IBM.


  • “Environmental responsibility is a core value that has been a part of Google’s culture since the beginning.  The company has remained carbon neutral since 2007.  The Geo team at Google is building a living breathing dashboard for the planet using cloud computing and machine learning. In 2017, it will reach its target of 100% renewable energy for its global business operations.”

    • lead to higher energy efficiency, less consumption and costs for Google, benefiting them directly, at the same time as the planet

    • Google has also invested in creating sustainable workplaces and empowering through technology

  • “Amazon too takes CSR and sustainability seriously. The brand has invested in several areas including a cleaner future for the planet, renewable energy, sustainable operations and packaging, reducing global carbon footprint and on engaging the community for a better environmental future.”

  • “Microsoft too like the other three technology giants is a leader in terms of sustainability and CSR. This year in July it launched a new program designed for accelerated use of AI for environmental protection.  Microsoft has focussed its sustainability efforts in five major areas where it believes it can have the best impact – carbon, energy, water, ecosystems, and circular economy.”

  • “IBM’s approach to CSR is a reflection of its business that includes applied technology, continuous transformation and sustainable change… IBM has invested in learning around the world to prepare the workforce of tomorrow. It is working in tandem with educators and other important stakeholders to create innovative technologies and education models that can ready people for the opportunities available in the 21st century.”

    • Created P-Tech 9-14 school model in New York, Teacher Advisor and Teachers Try Science models

    • Also helps military veterans through Veteran Employment Accelerator Impact Grant program, trains them to fill skill gaps and helps find employment

    • Can companies help teach skills they’re looking for in lower-income schools to help these kids overcome the inequality in our nation? Start with education inequality

  • “Bosch has created a Micro Climate Monitoring System (MCMS) using Intel’s IoT technology that can help manage air quality around the world in previously impossible ways.”

    • Intel has invested in innovative technologies in transportation and lighting for cities, created wearable device that flashes when the level of carbon monoxide gets unsafe

  • Sustainability helps businesses reduce costs, minimize wastes, and get a positive reputation, they have technology to improve the world, they can form large collaborations and work together, the four technology giants are leading in this area and others are following


Companies getting involved in education can be good but can also be misguided


The Silicon Valley Billionaires Remaking America’s Schools


  • Billionaires are reinventing the school system, applying many techniques of start ups to education. However, this interference is largely unchecked, and implemented fast, with little data showing its effects. Students are turned into guinea pigs for billionaires to test on

  • Can companies/billionaires help, but not feel the need to take over?



  • What is the extent of corporate responsibility? Just ensuring they are not harming the environment, or should they also be responsible for governance/education/social work?

  • What are the ways corporations are currently involving themselves, what are the best ways for them to involve themselves? How high is “doing good” ranked on companies’ priorities list?

  • Can social work or social enterprise in technology be profitable? Enough to become a big corporate power?


Planned research:

  • Emergence and history of corporate social responsibility, corporate citizenship, as well as that of social enterprises, comparing and contrasting their business models. Why did companies gain greater CSR? For brand image, pressure from society, planning ahead?

  • Research what tech companies are currently doing, what companies (probably more based in manufacturing) have done in the past

  • Effect of switch from manufacturing industries to tech industries, rise in inequality of income

  • The specific ways tech industries may be harming people (gentrification, inequality, etc) and ways they can mitigate it, or help in unrelated ways


Searchable thematic keywords:

  • Corporate accountability/morality

  • Corporate social responsibility

  • Corporate citizenship

  • Social enterprise

  • Capitalism

  • Technology and Power

  • Corporate power

  • Social capitalism


Complex conceptual question: I plan to explore how has technology changed the way corporations are held accountable or evade scrutiny and/or the corporate social responsibility initiatives and obligations tech companies have. Technology and innovation has had, and will likely continue to have, drastic effects on the government, corporate, and social sectors, in positive and negative ways. How should these big tech companies fit into our society, both as a corporate citizen and potentially, as a governance system?


Hypothetical essay prompt: Explore how technology has changed the expectations we have for corporations and the roles they play in our lives. What have corporations done in terms of social responsibility, and what else, if anything, should they be obligated to do?

Exercise 5: Searching for Scholarly Sources


BÉNABOU, ROLAND, and JEAN TIROLE. “Individual and Corporate Social Responsibility.” Economica, vol. 77, no. 305, 2010, pp. 1–19. JSTOR, JSTOR,


  • This paper is about corporate social responsibility as a way to mitigate market and redistributive failures.

  • This is particularly interesting when looking at the relatively recent technology industry, as it has greatly increased inequality, raising income of the .01% and .001%, so is it thus responsible for undoing some of the inequality it caused by redistribution?


McGuire, Jean B., et al. “Corporate Social Responsibility and Firm Financial Performance.” The Academy of Management Journal, vol. 31, no. 4, 1988, pp. 854–872. JSTOR, JSTOR,


  • This paper looks at the relationship between corporate social responsibility and a firm’s financial performance, concluding that a firm’s prior performance is more related to CSR than subsequent performance is. Thus, financial performance is a variable influencing CSR, not the reverse. CSR also reduces firm risk.

  • This paper challenges the idea that CSR influences financial performance, instead suggesting it is financial performance influencing CSR. That means that perhaps the framework of companies need to be examined/adjusted to allow for CSR, and that is the path that needs to be taken, rather than examining it from beginning with CSR.


L'Etang, Jacquie. “Public Relations and Corporate Social Responsibility: Some Issues Arising.” Journal of Business Ethics, vol. 13, no. 2, 1994, pp. 111–123. JSTOR, JSTOR,


  • This paper questions whether CSR is beneficial and whether corporations can be trusted to enact them. It brings up the point that CSR efforts are mostly environmental, rather than social, which could indicate that CSR programs are reactionary, responding to pressures rather than out of real responsibility or morality.

  • This is an interesting point of view, as many believe corporations need to enact CSR to make up for damages corporations may have caused, but this article argues that perhaps CSR initiative are not beneficial to society, at least the way they are structured now. It also emphasizes that CSR initiatives have been mostly reactionary, so it begs the question of whether corporations have changed their ways, how we can get corporations to change CSR initiatives and what they should be changed to, and whether they should have CSR efforts in the first place.


Exercise 6: Digital Searches for Primary Sources

Lecture titled “Capitalism 3.0: The Social Capitalism Revolution” that talked about the modern age of increasing corporate social responsibility and social capital, and how that is affecting our capitalist economic system. This brings up the larger trend of CSR, rather than focusing on the efforts of individual companies it looks more at the overall trend of CSR and how that’s shaping and being shaped by our modern society.

This is a picture of people operating on a computer from 1987, showing how much bigger computers used to be. This emphasizes the exponential growth of technology, as in just 30 years or so, technology can look archaic. Technology is powerful and revolutionizing the way we work, how will that change our society, and are tech companies responsible for mitigating any damages caused by that change?

There was a group called the High Tech Gays, a group of gay people employed in the technology industry, who protested the Defense Industrial Security Clearance Office’s refusal to give security clearance to those it thought may be gay. I thought this was interesting, a group of people in the tech industry protesting unfair government laws in court. Nowadays, we think of Silicon Valley and the tech industry as generally very modern and liberal, and it’s interesting to see an example in the past of people in technology pushing against conservatism and discrimination.