Ball State tosses IU a grenade

August 4, 2008
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Three Ball State University economists have gone public in recent weeks with their distaste for corporate social responsibility as it’s practiced these days.

Philip Coelho and James McClure argued in a letter to the editor in The Herald-Times of Bloomington that trying to cater to “an amorphous and ill-defined gaggle of ‘stakeholders’” has detracted companies from what they do best, making profits. As a result, they argue, shareholders get short shrift.

In the letter, which is likely to be read by a number of Indiana University professors, Coelho and McClure also accused academics of milking the movement for all it’s worth by pestering companies for funding to research the topic.

Mike Hicks, who directs BSU’s Bureau of Business Research, maintained much the same in a column published in IBJ and other newspapers.

Another view is that companies actually end up making more profit by being “responsible.” One example might be Eli Lilly and Co.’s offering 8,400 of its workers in May to spruce up the city. The goodwill the cleanup engendered might result in greater success with recruiting workers, or city officials showing more willingness to cooperate with the company on future zoning issues.

In other words, it’s a paradox. Give and it will be given to you.

What do you think?

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  • Ball State guy is jealous of IU guy on all accounts.
  • A Grenade? More like a Bottle Rocket at best or a whipper snapper.

    First off, I'm sure the BSU economists are not the first to point out the modern practice of profit-taking, social responsibility, and its relation to shareholders/employees. I'm sure IU economists/business profs are well aware of this not that groundbreaking revelation.

    2nd, look at IU's impact on the world of business and then look at Ball States, ummm, not knocking BSU, but seriously.

    And help me out here... how is IU really involved here. You said, in a letter likely to be read by IU profs and somehow that ties in IU.

    Are we implying that: Somebody somewhere might read this, therefore, they are involved in the topic? A bit of a stretch. You could have just posted the purpose of the study/idea without the Ball State/IU fued woven in. Further, doesn't the burden fall on the companies themselves and how they choose to conduct themselves not an individual schools relation to those company practices?
  • That Lilly deal was such a farce. I know quite a few folks who were volunteered for the do-gooder projects. They were all salaried people, and none of them had their workload lessened. All they could do was work longer (unpaid) hours in the days immediately before and after to make up for the missed day in the office. So, once again, corporate giant Lilly gets all the praise, while the poor working stiff gets home late for dinner.
  • Somebody at Ball State must have passed around a memo telling staff to get their names out there, because just in the last year I've seen Ball State economists quoted in the media on all sorts of issues. My two sisters and I are BSU grads, but I had no idea there even were economists there. Who knew?
  • BSU has one of the nation's premier entreprenueral programs and some leading economists in the midwest. The way the retiring AD and President for IU handeled the Sampson fiasco, the AD dept cover-up, and the way IU so carelessly over pays and continues to pay coach after coach after athletic dept member is a travesty. Couple that with teh fact that all of this is behind closed doors... of a state school, would lead one to wonder. This kind of tampering and underhanded dealing wouldn't be hard for a Purdue economist to figure out, let alone a Ball State economist... just IU apparently... Remind me again what IU is nationally respected for from an academic perspective? Ball State has Telecommunications, Education, Entrepenuralship, etc.... IU has....
  • To Marty,
    IU is ranked #1 in the nation in Informatics. The Jacobs School of music is #1 in the nation. IU is also known as having better Education and Nursing programs than Ball State's pride and joy programs.
    Now I get to my personal school, IU's Kelley school of business. You want to talk about Entrepreneurship rankings? BSU.edu says Ball State was ranked 20th in 2007. IU was ranked #1 in 2007. Kelley isnt limited to just Entrepeneurship though as all business programs are ranked in the top 20 in the nation, putting IU as the 11th best business school in the country (6th among public schools) according to US News and World Report.
    Yes the IU athletic department handled the situation poorly, I will admit. But I can't blame them when they have to operate such an outstanding program with a handfull of National Titles to boast. Maybe we should just give up and compete on Ball State High School's level so we dont have to feel the pressure and end up with more corruption and controversy.

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