AbstractA changing approach to social responsibility: a historic-normative case study of the North-West University (Potchefstroom Campus)
As a direct consequence of its Christian character, the former Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education (PU for CHE) engaged in local corporate responsibility programmes for a number of decades. When the PU for CHE was merged at the end of 2003 to become the North-West University (NWU) (including the PU for CHE) which emerged in 2004, these programmes continued at the Potchefstroom Campus, but were stripped of their Christian grounding. Now the University has a “value-driven” approach. This article tracks the changes to the normative character as well as the continued changes to the university’s position on social responsibility.
It was found that the North-West University’s normative points of departure have yet to be linked clearly to its community activities, and that formal corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities must be clearly differentiated from normal university business as well as student activities such as rag. It is argued that the problematic overlapping of profit-generating activities should be distinguished from all CSR programmes and the contribution of sponsors disclosed at all times.
Developments late in 2008 seemed to indicate that some of the most important problem areas be addressed when a new approach to “community engagement” is fleshed out. This could result in the NWU achieving the CSR goals set by both government and the University itself regarding its so-called do-values and developing a guiding philosophy on “community en-gagement”.
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