Andrew Crane and Dirk Matten

Andrew Crane and Dirk Matten (Schulich School of Business)

Professors Andrew Crane and Dirk Matten have received international acclaim for their collaborative research in Corporate Social Responsibility and Business Ethics. When asked to define what the two fields encompass, the two professors concluded that “people have different ideas of what they are”, but basically, it’s an exploration of ‘what it means to practice responsible business’.

Crane and Matten’s research pursuits involve a good deal of global travel. This recent photo was taken in South Africa, where they attended, presented, and engaged in a launch of two recent books, at an international conference organized by the International Society of Business, Economics and Ethics (ISBEE).

In light of current world business trends and directions, providing a global context to business ethics is an important focus of their recently published textbooks: Business Ethics: Managing Corporate Citizenship and Sustainability in the Age of Globalization, Second Edition (Oxford University Press, 2006) and Corporate Social Responsibility: Readings And Cases In A Global Context (Routledge, 2007), co-edited with Dr. Laura Spence of Brunel University. A global outlook is also prominent in another recent scholarly co-edited work titled Corporate Social Responsibility (Sage, 2007), an impressive three volume work. Producing textbooks has been a priority for Crane and Matten lately as it provides the opportunity to educate and make their fields accessible to a large audience – and their books have been adopted at business schools worldwide. Another title they co-edited is The Oxford Handbook Of Corporate Social Responsibility (Oxford University Press, 2008), which, Crane explains, is a different kind of work again, providing those new to the field with an introduction to the development of corporate social responsibility over time, key debates and theories, and current and emerging issues.

In light of current world business trends and directions, providing a global context to business ethics is an important focus of their recently published textbooks: Business Ethics: Managing Corporate Citizenship and Sustainability in the Age of Globalization, Second Edition (Oxford University Press, 2006) and Corporate Social Responsibility: Readings And Cases In A Global Context (Routledge, 2007), co-edited with Dr. Laura Spence of Brunel University. A global outlook is also prominent in another recent scholarly co-edited work titled Corporate Social Responsibility (Sage, 2007), an impressive three volume work. Producing textbooks has been a priority for Crane and Matten lately as it provides the opportunity to educate and make their fields accessible to a large audience – and their books have been adopted at business schools worldwide. Another title they co-edited is The Oxford Handbook Of Corporate Social Responsibility (Oxford University Press, 2008), which, Crane explains, is a different kind of work again, providing those new to the field with an introduction to the development of corporate social responsibility over time, key debates and theories, and current and emerging issues.

Aside from publishing successful books on business ethics and corporate social responsibility, Crane and Matten also share their insights and knowledge in these areas through a blog (http://craneandmatten.blogspot.com/), which was created in January of this year. In addition to enabling them to strengthen connections with their audience and readers, Crane and Matten also enjoy the flexibility of using the blog as a medium to share their ideas and comment on up-to-the-minute global issues. For students and faculty using their textbooks, they are able to use the context provided and apply them to current affairs, making the blog a useful learning resource.

The blog regularly attracts visitors both locally and worldwide, which also achieves the goal of reaching a broad audience. “I think what surprised me most – is that we have people from all over the world finding the blog often by accident and reading it…it’s a mixture – from colleagues down to complete strangers”, Matten commented. In Fall, they plan to create a direct link between the use of their publications and the blog in their teaching.

Crane and Matten explain that what drives their research in Corporate Responsibility and Business Ethics is the fact that there are few clear answers, but a myriad of questions and debates that emerge regularly. “For us, this is a great area where there are no clear rights or wrongs, where there are different perspectives where you can analyze a problem in all its complexity” Crane explains.

Crane and Matten have found that the interdisciplinary aspect of their fields also adds to the challenge and appeal of research. The motivation to explore real life issues and problems, is also a key focus in their research pursuits. “I think that we are very much driven by the approach of trying to understand issues and problems rather than advance a certain theoretical school of thought”, Crane explains. “We make contributions to theory along the way but I think that’s not how we are driven and what interests us, and (it’s not the motivation behind) the kinds of questions we ask.”

Currently, Crane and Matten are exploring the political realm of corporations and more specifically political responsibility around businesses. Their newest publication will be launched this month called Corporations and Citizenship (Cambridge University Press, 2008) which they wrote with Professor Jeremy Moon from Nottingham University Business School. Matten reminds us that “Business is not just an economical or social institution, but also a political institution.” Crane added that “…many people don’t want to even acknowledge that businesses are involved in politics – but they simply are involved, whether they like it or not. So our work is on how to conceptualize that best, and how to theorize about it.”

Aside from publishing successful books on business ethics and corporate social responsibility, Crane and Matten also share their insights and knowledge in these areas through a blog (http://craneandmatten.blogspot.com/), which was created in January of this year. In addition to enabling them to strengthen connections with their audience and readers, Crane and Matten also enjoy the flexibility of using the blog as a medium to share their ideas and comment on up-to-the-minute global issues. For students and faculty using their textbooks, they are able to use the context provided and apply them to current affairs, making the blog a useful learning resource.The blog regularly attracts visitors both locally and worldwide, which also achieves the goal of reaching a broad audience. “I think what surprised me most – is that we have people from all over the world finding the blog often by accident and reading it…it’s a mixture – from colleagues down to complete strangers”, Matten commented. In Fall, they plan to create a direct link between the use of their publications and the blog in their teaching.

Crane and Matten explain that what drives their research in Corporate Responsibility and Business Ethics is the fact that there are few clear answers, but a myriad of questions and debates that emerge regularly. “For us, this is a great area where there are no clear rights or wrongs, where there are different perspectives where you can analyze a problem in all its complexity” Crane explains.

Crane and Matten have found that the interdisciplinary aspect of their fields also adds to the challenge and appeal of research. The motivation to explore real life issues and problems, is also a key focus in their research pursuits. “I think that we are very much driven by the approach of trying to understand issues and problems rather than advance a certain theoretical school of thought”, Crane explains. “We make contributions to theory along the way but I think that’s not how we are driven and what interests us, and (it’s not the motivation behind) the kinds of questions we ask.”

Currently, Crane and Matten are exploring the political realm of corporations and more specifically political responsibility around businesses. Their newest publication will be launched this month called Corporations and Citizenship (Cambridge University Press, 2008) which they wrote with Professor Jeremy Moon from Nottingham University Business School. Matten reminds us that “Business is not just an economical or social institution, but also a political institution.” Crane added that “…many people don’t want to even acknowledge that businesses are involved in politics – but they simply are involved, whether they like it or not. So our work is on how to conceptualize that best, and how to theorize about it.”

[YORKwrites would like to thank Beverly Chan, Yorkwrites Assistant for 2007 and Sophie Bury, Business Librarian for providing this profile]