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COVID-19 and CSR – what happened?

A thesis discussed at LUISS University provides a first interpretive framework.

 

To survive, and grow, a company has to be able to adapt to changeable circumstances. This is true for all its components, and it is therefore also true for the complex range of activities that nowadays fall into a single category, Corporate Social Responsability (CSR). Looking at how a company’s outer changes transforms CSR is very important – indeed, very useful. This is precisely what Matteo Gioia attempted to do with his thesis discussed at LUISS University, Business and Management Department, Communication Strategies and Advertising Practice programme.

Come è cambiata la Corporate Social Responsability dopo la pandemia (How has Corporate Social Responsibility changed after the pandemic) is an investigation aimed at “showing how the significance of CSR has changed after the COVID-19 period: in a situation of crisis, characterised by an epidemiological emergency and a lockdown period that has forced the whole country to quarantine at home, redefining goals and implementing an appropriate Corporate Social Responsibility strategy may prove to be essential.” Starting from this premise, Gioia begins to define the actual concept of CSR and then investigates behaviours, attitudes, issues between working from home and CSR as if they were different sides of the same coin. Gioia then explores in depth the possibility that after COVID-19, the approach to CSR itself might change,

and concludes by explaining: “Teams that deal with Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), just as teams in all other business areas, had to adopt a more flexible approach to support the communities. Surviving the crisis while providing tangible contributions to the common good is now an objective as important as containing economic damage and starting again in every industry and at all corporate levels. Robust and coherent CSR policies have become a milestone in the identity of several brands, with customers strongly identifying with the causes a company supports.” COVID-19, in other words, has become a means of social cohesion not just within society, but also between society and businesses. “The new stage does not simply entail going back to business as it was pre-COVID, but, most likely, it will open up a new era defined by rapid changes in cultural norms, social values and behaviours, such as the greater demand for more responsible corporate policies and renewed brand purposes.”

Matteo Gioia’s work has the virtue of summarising a complex, constantly evolving topic, while also foreseeing something that still needs to be discovered and verified.

Come è cambiata la Corporate Social Responsability dopo la pandemia (How has Corporate Social Responsibility changed after the pandemic)

Matteo Gioia, Thesis, LUISS University, Business and Management Department, Communication Strategies and Advertising Practice programme, 2021.

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