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Grant from State Street Fuels Research on CSR

Ethics and social responsibility are long-standing commitments at Bentley. A grant from State Street Corporation funds a four-year doctoral fellowship in corporate social responsibility (CSR), bringing the subject to the fore of PhD research at the university.

State Street, the world’s leading provider of financial services to institutional investors, has its own history of being a responsible citizen. The company has been honored as the largest corporate giver in Massachusetts and named a “Top Corporate Citizen” by Business Ethics magazine. In 2006, State Street received the highest accolade that Massachusetts gives to volunteers: the Governor’s Points of Light Award.

Research Meets Application

The grant aims to bridge the gap between academic research and practical business application. The inaugural State Street CSR doctoral research fellow, Elise Perrault (pictured third from left), is exploring a variety of social responsibility issues; many have a direct impact on the finance industry.

“As the field of corporate social responsibility becomes more mainstream, academics and practitioners are faced with many questions about the value and business case for CSR from multiple perspectives,” says Cynthia Clark Williams, assistant director of the Bentley PhD Program and assistant professor of management. “The fellowship is designed to encourage a PhD student to deeply analyze these compelling and complicated questions, providing mutual benefit and knowledge to State Street and the student.”

Going Deep

State Street officials praise the fellowship’s goal to bridge the academic and professional worlds.

“Bentley is a long-time leader in business education and is continuing this trend by encouraging in-depth exploration of CSR,” notes George Russell, an executive vice president at the company. “As a proponent of CSR, State Street is eager to be involved with the advancement of research on this important topic.”

Perrault’s work – which focuses on CSR issues in financial markets – is meant to foster collaboration. She will meet periodically with State Street executives to discuss issues of mutual interest and to report on her findings.

“It’s a two-way street,” she says of the shared access to qualitative and quantitative information on CSR.

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