The futures of agency
Exploring the liminal spaces between action and responsibility
26 October 2023 (Thursday), 14:00-15:20, imagine3

Anticipation practices and the development of essential skills for CSR

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a very important issue today. Companies have to develop innovative strategies to remain competitive. Many tools exists to help them to better diagnose their actual practices and they are more open to develop new actions for responsible management. In this paper, we address the following research question: What is the level of anticipation practices French companies have today? To answer our research question, we have conducted a qualitative study between 2019 and 2023 in France. We first collected data thought a master class, which brought together about 80 students and 20 companies. From a competency framework established from 2015 during a scientific symposium organized in the city of Nantes by two French Grandes Ecoles, diagnoses had be made. Their objectives were to establish an initial inventory, then giving rise to action plans. The diagnosis identifies three skills families and nine metaskills: “thinking about CSR”; “acting collectively for CSR”; and “organize CSR”. Regarding the first skills family, the first metaskill is “the capacity to anticipate the evolution of the company and its environment”, the second one is “the capacity to analyze its practices, network and the complexity of its environment”; and the last one is “the capacity to question itself and to arbitrate complex choices”. Some examples are then associated : adopt a strategic and forward-looking vision of its environment, anticipate management and changes in staff and their skills over the long term, find relevant and up-to-date information, analyze the organization and its practices, assess, prevent and manage risks, think about complexity. The study shows that anticipation practices are few in number but they are essential for the development of CSR skills and desirable action plan. They are beneficial for companies themselves as for their contractors and other stakeholders with whom they directly or indirectly interact over time.

Esdes Business School